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Ewe and Them

How to pull the wool over your kid’s eyes.

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If your child grouses about that warm-weather haircut, then show him how other species behave when their winter coats get buzzed off. This weekend at the Queens and Prospect Park zoos, expert sheep stylists will take center stage at the tenth annual Sheep Shearing and Fleece Festivals. While a country-music band plays, Donald Kading, a 30-year veteran of the dying art, demonstrates the proper way to approach the woolly one and shave it bare within three minutes. “They can sense stress,” says Kading as he stands among a flock in upstate Gardiner. “If you’re tense, they kick and fight you through the whole thing.” Kading says he approaches his client tenderly, flips the animal onto its back hip into a sitting position, and goes for the underbelly wool first. (He says they don’t mind the bait and switch.) Kading shears some 2,000 animals every year and notes that his hands are remarkably soft, kept that way by the lanolin in sheepskin. What’s more, even kids who don’t have much interest in rural life will find diversion: The demos of wool cleaning, weaving, and dyeing have a shot at winning over the fashion-obsessed.

4/29–4/30 from noon to 4 p.m.; Queens Zoo, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 53-51 111th St., nr. Grand Central Pkwy., Flushing (718-271-1500 or queenszoo.com); Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Ave., nr. Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park (718-399-7339 or prospectparkzoo.com); $6 grown-ups, $2.25 seniors, $2 kids 3–12, free for youngers.


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