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May 16, 2013

Farm fun on tap at North Andover's Sheep Shearing Festival

After 41 years, it has become an institution in North Andover.

The Sheep Shearing Festival will take place Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Common. Beside the demonstrations of sheep shearing and herding, at least 45 crafters will be on hand to show and sell their handiwork, and an ample assortment of food vendors should guarantee that no one will go hungry, according to Jeffrey Coco, co-chairman of the Festivals Committee, which organizes this event.

To enhance the farming flair of the festival, Smolak Farms will offer hayrides, Coco said.

Last year, Cowpie Bingo was introduced and proved especially popular. A total of 625 squares will be marked off on the Common, and for $10 per square, daring souls can take a chance on a $1,000 grand prize or several $100 prizes.

The Festivals Committee faced a crisis this year because Roche’s Farm, which provided the cow last year, was unable to repeat the service this weekend, according to both Coco and E.J. Foulds, coordinator of Cowpie Bingo.

Richardson’s Farm of Middleton, however, stepped up and provided a “docile” cow that will wander among the 625 squares and bring someone a huge monetary reward by relieving herself on one of them, Coco said. Foulds credited Dan Gil, a local landscaping contractor who does business as Earthworks, and Magnifico Plumbing of Middleton with arranging the bovine boost from Richardson’s.

With only a few days left until the festival, there are still Cowpie Bingo squares for sale, Foulds said. They can be purchased at the Lowell 5 Savings Bank today, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104 tonight and tomorrow evening, the police station tomorrow, in the downtown from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday and at Butcher Boy from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

If there are any squares left after those opportunities, they’ll be on sale at the festival, Foulds said.

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