Excitement, curiosity and a bit of trepidation filled the Agricultural Society barn on Saturday as an audience gathered to watch Island sheep get their haircuts. A welcoming committee of goats, remaining after last week’s emergency animal shelter program during the blizzard, rushed to the edges of the stalls and poked friendly faces and floppy ears into the paths of attendees.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and Slough Farm hosted Siri Swanson, owner of Yankee Rock Farm in Orwell, Vt., one of a small group of professional sheep shearers certified to do the work. The American Sheep Industry Association lists only 15 professional shearers in Massachusetts, Vermont., New Hampshire and Maine.

Ms. Swanson sheared Slough Farm’s sheep last year and welcomed the opportunity to return to the Island, she said. On Saturday, she was assisted by Christian Walkis from Slough Farm, who helped wrangle the ewes from their pens and position them for shearing.

Kids turned out to watch and feel the freshly shorn wool. — Ray Ewing

Parents held children’s hands or gathered in groups as Agricultural Society volunteers answered questions and encouraged everyone to check out the dozen Tunis sheep brought in from Slough Farm for the shearing.

Ms. Swanson provided a useful introduction to the tools of her trade, including plywood laid on the barn floor to establish a solid platform on which she works and electric shears attached to a hanging motor. She also noted that shearing takes place about a month before lambs are born in order to makes the birthing process cleaner. A sheared ewe also makes it easier for the baby lambs to find a mother’s udder.

During the work, Ms. Swanson wore a shearing singlet extending to mid-thigh under her clothing to help regulate body temperature, and shearing moccasins to keep her heels flat and ease the back pain that comes from bending from the hips for eight hours a day, as well as provide her with the ability to use her toes to control the animals.

After the haircut. — Ray Ewing

After positioning each ewe on its back in a half-reclined position, Ms. Swanson sheared their bellies first and set that wool aside because of its rough and uneven texture. Then she gracefully removed the rest of the animal’s wool, all in one nearly circular piece.

As each fleece was laid out on a skirting table, children gathered with looks of wonder to feel the texture.

With the lambs on the way, spring must be just around the corner.