Sheep Wagon Days this week

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The seventh annual Sheep Wagon Days promises the same attractions as in years past -- authentic wagons, period dress and even Mary Carrera's live llama.

"It's mostly an educational, cultural and historical event to show people what life in the sheep wagons was like," said organizer Jan Gerber, assistant director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

Sheep Wagon Days runs Thursday through Saturday at Alice Pleasant Park in downtown Craig. Carrera will be out from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday giving embroidery and wool demonstrations, and visiting with students from local schools.

"I take kids through wagons just to give them a taste of how life in sheep wagons is and was," co-organizer Mary Morris-Shearer said.

With no bathrooms and no television, some kids are astonished at the living conditions.

"I think it really shows the type of life that many of our old timers lived, and our sheep herders still live today," she said.

A wooden-wheeled wagon owned by the museum will be on hand, as will a commissary, or supply, wagon. Additional wagons and photographs from area ranchers will also be available, and the museum will be open for browsing.

The women say Sheep Wagon Days is an excuse for community members to come out and celebrate the beginning of autumn.

"People are sure welcome to come down," Gerber said. "They can just come and stroll through the park and have an enjoyable time."

But Moffat County residents are not the only ones who get excited about the event. Morris-Shearer has met people who come from Utah, Wyoming and Nevada for the event. She even receives calls from interested visitors from all over the United States.

"The word has gotten out about Sheep Wagon Days," she said.

She advertised the event in free magazine listings and hopes that encourages even more people to come to this year's event.

But, more than anything, Morris-Shearer hopes those who attend come away with a better understanding and an appreciation for the cultural significance the sheep ranching industry holds for this area.

"We want it to be an educational and cultural event that's very authentic," she said. "We want it to represent the way things really are and were."

Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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