The Black Sheep Gathering, Inc. (BSG) organizers welcome fiber enthusiasts, breeders, volunteers and newcomers, once again to our annual “coming together.” We meet to discuss breeding and raising colored sheep and goats, share our knowledge of fibers and spend time with like-minded folks in the natural colored sheep and wool community.
Inspired by founder and editor of the Black Sheep Newsletter, Sachiye Jones, as a way for sheep growers and wool consumers to meet and market their goods the first official Black Sheep Growers’ Potluck was held in Rickreall (west of Salem, OR) in 1974.
In 1981 the event was held in conjunction with the Association of Northwest Weavers’ Guilds Conference at the Lane County Fairgrounds. This was the first year it was called the Black Sheep Gathering. For the next several years the event was moved to the Cottage Grove Exposition Center.
During the 1984 New Zealand World Congress on Coloured Sheep, Sachiye Jones convinced planners that Oregon should host the next every five-year event. Sachiye thought the Gathering could be held in conjunction with the Congress.
The planning began in late 1984. Sadly, Sachiye became ill during her trip to New Zealand and later lost her battle with leukemia in 1985. Despite her absence, the organizers continued on and hosted a most wonderful World Congress on Coloured Sheep in Eugene, bringing together geneticists, breeders, fiber artists and other wool enthusiasts from around the world. It was a most exciting time and the annual Black Sheep Gathering was held in conjunction with this congress.
Since 1989, the Gathering had been held at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene. In 2018, the Black Sheep Gathering began meeting annually at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany, Oregon. The beautiful facility is not only centrally located in the heart of Willamette Valley, but it also gives the Gathering room to grow. The event now includes many breeders of sheep and Angora goats; a large marketplace offering a diverse supply of fiber and related foods from independent vendors; several educational talks and demonstrations; a sheep herding exhibition on Saturday; a fleece competition and sale with hundreds of quality handspinning fleeces; and the always popular spinners' circle.
Come join us for this year’s Black Sheep Gathering. If this will be your first visit, we extend a special welcome to our BSG family. We continue to welcome our growing number of old and new friends.