DIXON — Lambs were the stars at the Dixon May Fair fairgrounds on Saturday.
Vendors sold yarn. Women spun wool into yarn on spinning wheels. The smell of lamb kabob, lamb teriyaki and lamb sausages came from food booths.
And, of course, the lambs themselves could be seen in such events as the sheep-shearing contest and sheepdog trials.
Dixon historically had the name of The Dairy City, but this weekend it is Lambtown. The 27th annual, two-day Lambtown Festival will conclude from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Becca Freed of Berkeley and Kirsten Kruse of San Francisco came on Saturday.
“I was curious,” Kruse said. “I heard about it before in the knitting and spinning community.”
Freed also knits.
“We know people who are selling yarn here,” she said. “It’s nice to see the yarn on the hoof.”
On the hoof and moving fast. Freed particularly liked the sheepdog trials.
A crowd sat on metal bleachers to watch the sheep-shearing contest. Contestants held their sheep’s head between their legs to keep the animals from running. Electric cutters hummed. Wool piled up on the ground, targeted to be sent to a New Mexico wool processor, with the wool oil perhaps to be used for hand cream.
Julie Johnson of Rio Linda took part in the contest. She did the shearing as her husband, Steven, helped her hold the sheep.
Johnson is more used to spinning than shearing. And, when she does shear, she usually has the help of her children. She came nowhere near to finishing first, but she had a smile on her face.
The sheep seemed less enthused with the proceedings.
“For some of them, it’s an all-body massage,” Johnson said. “Some of them, they’re afraid something bad is going to happen to them.”
Dixon, during the 1940s and 1950s, gained fame for its sheep production, according to the Dixon Chamber of Commerce. Today, it is home to the Superior Farms lamb processing plant that employees about 150 people.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.