Wool Fashionistas Lead the Line at KILE
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Over the last several years, Annette Lovell has seen a wide range of creative wool outfits — from a Renaissance-themed ensemble to a wool bikini.
Lovell, of Paoli, Chester County, Pa., has been chairwoman of the annual Keystone International Livestock Exposition’s Lead Line show since about 2005. The event features students that model a wool outfit while they exhibit a sheep.
The annual show, which is supported by volunteers and donations, has a different theme each year. This year’s motto was “Got Sheep?”
Two judges scored contestants on skills including poise, presentation of their animal and modeling of their outfits. The outfits needed to be made of at least 80 percent wool, age-appropriate and useful, Lovell said.
“It’s just a really good way to get word out there about sheep and wool,” she said.
Some participants also use their wool outfits for their 4-H project, Lovell said.
Rebecca Hyde, 20, of Saegertown, Crawford County, Pa., won her division at a prior Lead Line show.
At this year’s event, she modeled a wool black sheath dress and matching lined jacket with an embellished collar — made by her mother Susan Hyde — and again took first place for her age group.
The Hyde family raises market Corriedale sheep.
“I had to sell my flock because I’m going to Penn State,” Rebecca Hyde said. She’s studying biology with an interest in plant science. When she’s finished with school, she plans to get back into the sheep business, she said.
Jared Vamvakias, 10, and his sister Sarah, 12, of Boyertown, Berks County, Pa., modeled wool outfits that their mother, Beth, helped them sew. Their father, George, was also at the event and photographed the children while they performed in the competition. The Vamvakias family raises Corriedales and other sheep breeds.
Events such as the Lead Line help teach the public about the agriculture industry and where food and goods come from, said Beth Vamvakias, who spins, weaves and knits with wool.
“People don’t realize why wool is expensive,” she said of the lengthy process of transforming a sheep’s coat into fabric.
The event marked the second show for Jared, who wore a 100 percent wool shirt, vibrant green polar fleece vest, fully lined cargo pants and hand-knitted headband.
Jared said he also knows how to use a drop spindle, a tool used in spinning wool.
Sarah, donned in a heather-and-purple plaid wool vest and matching pants, has competed in KILE Lead Line for the last three years. She said she’d like to encourage more children to participate in the event.
“It kind of feels like a fashion show to me,” Sarah said.
The results for the Keystone Lead Line Sheep Show were as follows.
Senior Division Lead Line:
1st Rebecca Hyde, 20, Crawford Co., Pa.
2nd Ashley Gouge, 16, Newark, Del.
Intermediate Division Lead Line:
1st Sarah Vamvakias, 12, Boyertown, Berks Co., Pa.
2nd Jade Wilson, 12, Crawford Co., Pa.
3rd Brooke Mazepink, 14, Parkesburg, Chester Co., Pa.
Junior Division Lead Line:
1st Paige Clyde, 10, Greenville, Mercer Co., Pa.
2nd Gracie Myers, 10, Westmoreland, Westmoreland Co., Pa.
3rd Cheyenne Clyde, 7, Greenville, Mercer Co., Pa.
4th Alivia Blum, 8, White Hall, Md.
5th Jared Vamvakias, 10, Boyertown, Berks Co., Pa.