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Focus on Fiber' brings new exhibitors

During the fair festivities Friday July 10, new faces displayed their knowledge of farming and fiber for the 170th Madison County Fair because of the "Focus on Fiber" exhibit. The fiber event was created to shine light on the niche market of fiber milling, shearing, spinning and art.

Several fiber farmers brought their spinning wheels and finished products to show fairgoers how a product comes off an animal and how it becomes and every day household item like a blanket, soap, lotion or candles.

The babydoll effect

Along with their finished products, exhibitors brought their animals to the fair to show how the fiber process is made possible. D.J. and Mindy Layman of West Edmenston brought two of their newest editions to The Olde Homestead so that fairgoers would see a lesser known breed of sheep.

The couple specializes in breeding Olde English Miniature Babydoll Southdown Sheep or as they say, "teddy bear sheep with a smile."

"I have been coming to the fair for 46 years, but this is the first year I ever brought animals," Mindy said.

She said her grandfather had been a director of the fair at one point so she has always had a close connection with the fair. "Focuson Fiber" made her decide to share the babydoll breed's unique quality and show how their wool can be made into different crafted items.

Right now, The Olde Homestead, 10800 Hollow Road, is home to 27 sheep, with 12 for sale, Guinea hens, chickens and honey bees. The couple also sells honey and eggs.

Several fairgoers stopped to see the "adorable" sheep named Ben and Jerry. The Laymans said the twin boys were four months old and weighed about 50 pounds respectively. Their full growth potential can be up to two feet tall and about 140 pounds.

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