Monday, April 22, 2019

Celebrate Spring Like the Colonials Did: Let’s Shear Some Sheep! 4/27/19 and 4/28/19

Celebrate Spring Like the Colonials Did: Let’s Shear Some Sheep!
Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, 2019

For more than 400 years, the arrival of spring in Monmouth County has been celebrated through community gatherings centered around the making of wool, and woolen textiles, from sheep. As both a matter of self-reliance and survival as well as a commercial venture, the role of domesticated sheep and wool-making in the 13 colonies was so important that the number of sheep in North America grew from 400 head in 1630 to more than 100,000 in just ten years.

The Monmouth County Historical Association, in partnership with the Monmouth County Park System, is continuing this seasonal tradition at the 2019 Wool Days, where families can enjoy an immersive experience and learn “by doing” how our ancestors made wool from sheep here in New Jersey in colonial times. Wool Days is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at Holmdel Park, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. All events are open to the public and admission is free.

Families watch a spinning demonstration at Wool Days Spring Festival.
Wool Days begins at Historic Longstreet Farm, where the resident sheep will be shorn of their winter coats, in the age-old springtime custom. Following demonstrations of canine shepherding skills and the techniques of veteran shearers, participants can take a wagon ride to the Holmes-Hendrickson House, built in 1754, located a half-mile away.

There, costumed interpreters will demonstrate spinning and weaving practices from the 18th century, while visitors can take a turn at the loom, pitch in and “card” recently cropped wool, and learn the art of indigo dyeing, creating a unique keepsake to take home. Docents will conduct tours of Holmes-Hendrickson House, a rare surviving example of Georgian and Dutch vernacular architecture that illustrates 18th century everyday farm life in Monmouth County.

“Sheep husbandry and wool-making were vital aspects of colonial life in Monmouth County, as well as the regional economy,” said Meg Sharp Walton, executive director, Monmouth County Historical Association. “In fact, the banning of wool exports from the colonies by the British was one of many restrictive trade measures that precipitated the American Revolution.”

The Holmes-Hendrickson House
Holmes-Hendrickson House is located at 62 Longstreet Road and Longstreet Farm at 44 Longstreet Road both in Holmdel, NJ. Wool Days activities at Holmes-Hendrickson House will take place rain or shine. Please check with Longstreet Farm (732-946-3758) for any schedule changes there due to inclement weather.

“Being able to not only see how wool is made from sheep, but to also be able to hear, and touch, and smell, are what makes this immersive educational experience one that kids and adults never forget,” said. Walton. “We believe it’s important to offer this kind of education while maintaining some of our longest-standing community traditions.”

For additional information please visit

About Monmouth County Historical Association
Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) is a private non-profit organization that has been working to preserve history and provide educational opportunities since its founding in 1898. MCHA’s Museum and Library & Archives are located at 70 Court Street in Freehold. Museum hours are: Tuesdays - Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Library & Archives are open Wednesday through Saturday. MCHA maintains five Historic House Museums throughout the county which are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from May 1 through September 30. For further information, please call 732-462-1466 or visit Monmouth County Historical Association received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

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