KETCHUM, Idaho — The Trailing of the Sheep Festival brings people to Sun Valley for days of watching the sheepdog trials, learning how to cook lamb and enjoying live music and other activities associated with festivals.
To culminate this fall tradition the big sheep parade caravans a herd of sheep through downtown Ketchum.
The sheep migration has been happening in this area for 150 years as herders take the sheep from the high country to lower elevation for the winter and people have the opportunity to get up close and personal with this living piece of American west history.
"I’m glad to be here making history again," said Jim Trevino who came from Florida for the festival. "I is great, I’m going to tell my friends in Venice to come and visit."
Darby Northcott helps the migration make its way through the town, she brings her own sheep to the front of the herd to help the sheep stay on course, she has been doing it for 18-years and got into it through 4H when she was 8-years-old.
"Sheep follow sheep so that's the reason I come up with my leaders," said Northcott. "It gets kind of nerve-racking trying to bring all the sheep through with all these people and I think this year there were more people than I've ever seen."
The spectators also get treated to the cultural aspect that comes with this way of life and one country that has a strong heritage of sheep herding is Peru, the crowd was able to watch the Peruvian Dance Team showcase their skills during the parade.
"It’s great, I feel honored to be here, I feel honored to show my culture and where I came from," said Daniel Leon who helped put together the dance team. "We gather new Peruvians who come down from Peru and we ask them to dance with us."
The Trailing of the Sheep Festival also marks an important economic opportunity for this tourist area during the fall, next Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley will start preparing for winter when the region transforms into a winter adventure wonderland and ski town USA.