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Fleece Festival buzzing in Brooklyn’s backyard

Prospect Park Zoo sheep shed fur just in time for summer

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SPIN IS IN: Kids learn how to spin wool as part of the festivities.
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BAH, COME HUG: Parents and kids came out to celebrate the shearing of the Prospect Park Zoo’s sheep.
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BEFORE: Donald Kading has shaved a lot of sheep in his day. Here he demonstrates his wooly work for onlookers at Prospect Park.
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AFTER: A freshly sheared Baby Doll Southdown sheep stands next to one that still has its wool.

The Prospect Park Zoo’s flock of sheep got a haircut over the weekend, to the shear delight of onlookers.

The zoo’s annual Fleece Festival celebrates the warm weather with a shearing demonstration from expert Donald Kading. Families in attendance were impressed by Kalding’s speed and athleticism.

“The guy who cuts the sheep is amazing,” said David Dana, who came out with his wife and 4-year-old son Forest to watch the fur of the zoo’s dozen sheep fly.

The trim job keeps the creatures cool for the summer and the show was a great way for the family to spend the day, Dana said. Watching the docile beasts go from fluffy to finely coiffed was a way to get his boy captivated by critters, he said.

“My wife loves animals, and she wants Forest to as well,” he said.

The public shaving has been a staple of the zoo for more than 10 years and it does not cease to amaze the youth of Brooklyn, according to the zookeepers.

“It is another opportunity for us to educate our urban community about our relationships to nature and wildlife, even on the farm,” said zoo director Denise McClean. “For some of these children, a sheep can be just as exotic as a baboon!”

Fleece Fest also included crafts and games and demonstrations to show kids how the freshly shorn wool gets spun into yarn.

Posted 12:00 am, May 21, 2014
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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