Spring has Sprung! Join Kelsey Creek Farm in their Annual Sheep Shearing Celebration

Sean Wu // The Watchdog

Kelsey Creek Farm is holding its annual sheep shearing event this Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The employees of the farm will be cutting the coats of their sheep before a public audience, and will pair this with other fun activities for attendees of all ages.

The farm shears their sheep every spring in order to use their wool and maintain their health. Each sheep from the farm itself — those being Paige, Paisley, Bob and Shuan, as well as some from another farm — will be brought out individually onto a stage and sheared by an employee with an electric razor. This process will go on from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The sheep may not enjoy the process, but will feel much better in the summer when they don’t have a heavy coat making them overheat. 

In addition to the main event, there are several other activities offered. For free, you can participate in the following:

  • Meet and pet the farm animals personally.
  • Watch a demonstration on crafting with wool by the Northwest Spinners and Fiber Arts Association.
  • Engage with a series of activities related to the heritage of Kelsey Farm and look at related displays. 
  • Children exclusively can enjoy a free tractor ride. 

Food, although not complimentary, will be offered as well. Options include the following:

  • The food trucks Bai Tong on Wheels and Swagg n Waggon, serving Thai and hot wings, respectively. 
  • A vendor serving honey from Cascade Natural Honey.
  • Coffee from Seattle Espresso Cart.
  • Kettle Corn by Pioneer Popcorn.

The Farm has other animals besides sheep and ponies, these being goats, chickens, cows and rabbits, all in addition to the shearing event itself. Furthermore, the area features hiking and walking trails, creeks, forests, fields and picnic areas. Two barns on the property are registered historic places, originally home to the Twin Valley Dairy company in the 1920s. There is also a historic cabin, the Fraser Cabin, built by settlers in 1888, which contains activities that showcase the settlers’ life. 

The land of Kelsey Farm was purchased in 1901 by Wade Hewitt and Charles Lea, and was used for the next 20 years for logging. In 1921, The Duey family bought the property, and the dairy they supplied bore the name Twin Valley Dairy. The Dueys sold the farm during the Great Depression to the Fisher family, who lived and worked on it until 1968, when they sold it to the City of Bellevue in order to prevent it from being bulldozed and turned into a residential neighborhood. The farmhouse then became the headquarters of the Bellevue Parks and Recreation Department. In 1990, the original 80-acre site expanded to 150 acres when the city bought wetlands and wildlife habitat to the park’s south. The expanded site became known officially as Kelsey Farms Community Park. According to its official website, about 200,000 people visit the park per year. 

Although it is no longer possible to apply for volunteer positions at Saturday’s event, volunteering opportunities are generally offered for people 15 and older. Volunteers help with setting up the event beforehand and while it is in progress, such as by working the children’s activities booths. Kelsey Farms says it provides valuable experience with working with crowds, kids and teamwork, as well as service hours.

Free parking on site is provided for those with disabilities, and general parking can be found at International School 445 nearby. There are also shuttles running from 10:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., which are based at Wilburton Park and Ride and Bannerwood Sports Park. The last shuttle to Kelsey Farms leaves at 2:30 p.m.