Merck Forest and Farm Center Farm Sheepdog Trials Rupert Vermont
Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

12th Annual Sheep Dog Trial & Farm Festival
July 16 and 17, 2016, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Merck Forest and Farmland Center's annual Sheep Dog Trial and Farm Festival falls in the early summer this year. Join us for this two-day event: watch the Northeast Border Collie Association in action at the Sheep Dog Trials, and take part in the Farm Festival's activities.

Tickets are sold at the gate: $5/adult, $3/child ages 4 - 12, and under age 4 are free


Merck Forest Open Sheep Dog Competition
8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

Bring your own lawn chairs, or grab a seat under the large tent, and enjoy watching the line-up of handlers and dogs from the Northeast Border Collie Association compete in the Merck Forest Open. Prizes are awarded to the winners on Sunday afternoon.

Farm Festival
Events run all day, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The farm festival has a variety of activities between the farm and the sap house, which are kid and adult-friendly. The list below is from 2015:

  • Hay Maze:
    • Do you think that you can find your way quickly through the maze of hay? We'll be timing you, just like the each Sheep Dog Trial is timed. Display your best hay maze trial time on a fun wristband!
  • Ballon Sheep Herding:
    • A favorite from last year. We'll set up a course for you to "herd" your balloon sheep through with the help of sheep dog paddles.
  • Visit Dolly the Lamb:
    • Get up close with one of our lambs, Dolly. She was a bottle-fed baby, and is very comfortable around people. This station will allow you to learn a little about how we raise sheep at Merck Forest.
  • Baby Chicks:�
    • There is nothing quite like being able to hold a downy chick in your hand. Raising chickens is part of the farm, and at the Chick Station, you'll get some hands-on experience and learn about raising chickens.
  • Photo Booth Fun:
    • Have fun snapping a few photos of you and your family at the photo booth. Pose as a sheep dog, handler, or sheep.
  • Wool and Weaving Station
    • Wool Bracelets
      • Another favorite! Learn how wool fiber can be twisted (or spun) together to create yarn. You'll get to make your own wool bracelet.
    • Use Your Nose! Lamb I.D. Activity
      • Lambs and their mothers bond and recognize each other by their scent. At this activity station, you'll be able to explore how mama and baby find each other.
    • Skirting and Carding Tables
      • Learn a bit of the wool handling process by skirting and carding some wool. You'll get to use the tools and explore the properties of fiber!
  • You-Pick Berries:
    • Take a time-out from the trials to pick some berries at the raspberry patch (weather-dependent).
  • Scavenger Hunt:
    • Find your way around the farm with our scavenger hunt.

Regional Fiber Artists
Vending and demonstrating all day, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Fiber artists from nearby New York and Vermont will be set up and demonstrating their craft in the Frank Hatch Sap House. We are excited to have so many great crafters joining the festival this year. Items for sale include rugs, hats and mittens, towels, yarn, angora goat products, alpaca fibers, batik-dyed fibers, felted products, wool dog products, crafting tools, and more!

Our vendors this year include:

  • Amity Farm Batik, Fort Ann, New York
  • Contented Butterfly Farm, Windsor, Vermont
  • Carolyn DelPezzo, Poultney, Vermont
  • Ensign Brook Farm, Greenwich, New York
  • The Flyin' Bobbin, Poultney, Vermont
  • JVU Knits, Arlington, Vermont
  • Sadie's Suitcase, Granville, New York
  • Wing & A Prayer Farm, Shaftsbury, Vermont

We still have tables available. If you are interested in vending at the Sheep Dog Trials this year, please contact Melissa Carll:

Local Food Served Onsite (Edward's Market)

The new Edward's Market from Granville, New York will be providing a delicious array of food choices during the event. Food service is available from 10 am - 3:30 pm. Menu will be posted shortly.

Sheep Dog Trials at Merck Forest Rupert Vermont

Border Collie winner at  Merck Forest Sheep Dog Trials in Rupert Vermont

Horse-drawn wagon rides at farm festival

Vermont farm festival - artisan cheese, food and craft venders

OUR SPONSORS for 2015:

Vermont Country Store Whitman's Feed Store HN Williams Store rk Miles
We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
© Merck Forest and Farm Center, all rights reserved