It’s almost as if a small city popped up in Grass Creek Park on Friday, but the tents, trailers and vehicles dotting the grounds are actually part of the annual Sheep Dog Trials.
Organizers estimate the three-day event, which began Friday, will draw 7,000 visitors.
The trials, which display the sometimes magical communication between handler and canine, are the main draw for spectators, but there are plenty more activities for families to see.
There’s beekeeping, chainsaw carving, and both a strong man and strong woman competition.
Nevertheless, the demonstrations have at least some tie with the theme of dogs and sheep.
John Walker a blacksmith set up at the event, and on Friday he was quickly working heated metal with his anvil and hammer to make dog-related objects.
“What I’m working on today is a small finial wall hook that basically people could hang a dog leash on or something like that.”
Kingston Handloom Weaver and Spinners are set up at the event.
Candy Featherstone was set up at Grass Creek Park, expertly twisting and feeding raw wool into her spinning wheel, turning it to yarn.
She says she picked up the skill about eight years ago because she liked the idea of making her own yarn to knit with.
“It’s very calm, very soothing. When you get into stressful situations, it’s nice to sit at your wheel and spin for a bit.”
But if you’re less interested in the offshoots of the event, there are plenty of dog demonstrations taking place over the weekend.
Absolute Agility, based out of Harrowsmith, has set up for the first time at the sheep dog trials.
The business specializes in teaching dogs various skills, like negotiating an obstacle course and the high jump.
The surprise appearance at Absolute Agility’s demonstration is Dozer the miniature pig.
According to owner Jerri Gallaugher, Dozer thinks he is a dog.
“I really think so. His best friends in my home are the Chihuahuas.”
Gallaugher says she’s managed to teach Dozer an incredible number of skills.
“I took him to Toronto for swimming lessons,” she says. “He can swim, he can do agility, he does scent detection, and he rides a skateboard.”