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Sheep lead Livestock and Heritage Parade

The sheep parade on Saturday morning is part of the parade which kicks of Cedar City's live stock festival every year on Main Street.

The sheep parade on Saturday morning is part of the parade which kicks of Cedar City's live stock festival every year on Main Street. Photo by Charlotte Thalhammer.

Cedar City residents gathered together last Saturday morning as over 1,000 sheep made the trip from the canyon to the valley and paraded down Main Street during the Cedar City Livestock Heritage Festival.

The annual Livestock Heritage Festival was Oct. 28 to 30 with events taking place all over Cedar City.

The festival began Thursday, Oct. 28 with a Johnny Rodriguez concert at the Cedar City Heritage Center Theater. Rodriguez is a Latin American country music singer who combines country music with Latin sounds and Spanish lyrics.

Amber Bennett, the Marketing Assistant of the Cedar City Visitors Center, said the Livestock and Heritage Festival is a unique opportunity for farmers to show Cedar City residents all they do for the community.

“It gives my kids the opportunity to get a close up view of things you wouldn’t normally see,” Bennett said. “It is just a great opportunity to see where we came from and what has grown from Cedar City, from sheep farmers and the livestock herders, to what we have become now. It’s a nice little peek at where we used to be.”

Events continued Friday, with the Cedar Chest Quilters Show in the Heritage Center Theater all day. The show continued through Saturday and displayed quilts and textile art created by the Cedar Chest Quilters Guild.

Meanwhile, the Livestock Festival was taking place in the Cross Hollows Events Center all day. It featured Western vendors, agricultural displays, an antique tractor show, Cowboy Poetry and music.

Cowboy Poetry is a traditional form of poetry carried out by workers on cattle drives and ranches. After a long day of work, cowboys would gather around a campfire and tell tall tales and sing folk songs. The tradition continues at festivals and gatherings throughout the western United States.

Friday’s events also included the Top Dog sheepdog demo where border collies demonstrated their abilities to work with their handlers and sheep in the Iron Rangers Outdoor Arena, the Junior Ranch Rodeo and the Draft Horse Demo and Teamster Contest.

Saturday morning was the highlight of Cedar’s Livestock and Heritage Festival ­— the sheep parade. The parade not only featured over 1,000 sheep herded down Main Street, but also included wagons, antique tractors, vintage cars and SUU’s Rodeo Team.

Stephanie Orton, a Parowan resident and employee at the Cedar City Visitor’s Center, said it was her first time at the sheep parade but knows quite a bit about sheep since she said her father was a sheep herder.

“I didn’t go to any of the other festivities but the parade was pretty cool and I saw some awesome things … like a sheep bouncing on all fours that was the highlight of the day,” Orton said. “It’s awesome that you see a lot of history and farmers’ pride in what they do here; they take pride in everything they do with the sheep and the equipment.”

The Livestock Festival continued Saturday and included everything from Friday and more, such as agricultural displays, hands-on demonstrations and pioneer activities, which were provided by the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum.

Other events included the Dennis Stowell Memorial Ranch Rodeo, an antique car show, the Kid’s Pedal Tractor Pull and the Antique Tractor Pull. There was also a Draft Horse Pull featuring the world champion Horse Pull Team. The rest of the weekend included a Sheep Lead Contest and the Cowboy Dirt Dance with Most Wanted, a local country music group, as the entertainment.

The Sheep Lead Contest is where participants displayed their fashion and sheep-handling skills. The competitor leads a young sheep around the ring while wearing an outfit made from wool. The purpose of the contest is to present the sheep in an attractive manner and demonstrate the importance of wool and the animals that produce it.

The festival concluded with Cowboy Church Sunday morning. Cowboy Church is a non-denominational gathering which featured spiritual poetry and songs at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum.

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