A splinter faction of the Horde is planning to invade Rhinebeck, New York, site of a yearly sheep and wool festival. I’ve been asked to bring to your attention their nefarious plans, so that you can join them.

The organizing committee of Mattir, Muse, and Onion Girl have meet and have begun to plan the Horde invasion of Rhinebeck. The best way to think of this is a mini-Horde con* that just happens to happen near sheep. You are welcome even if you don’t like sheep – there are plenty of things for you to do (maple sugar cotton candy for one).

Rhinebeck will happen from Friday, October 19 to Sunday October 21st. We will arrive at the hotel on Friday and have a Horde pizza party. Saturday morning will be a trip to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool (or other activities as people want) then a nice dinner out at a restaurant on Saturday evening followed by debauchery as desired. Sunday we’ll have brunch together then get on the road.

Slightly differently than last year, we are going to make it an upfront cost that you can pay into over time, rather than having to come up with hotel costs all at once (and have us having to cover for the person who forget to pay their room cost). We are estimating that the cost is going to be around $350, although that might go down. That $350 will cover your room cost, the party room, pizza on Saturday and brunch on Sunday as well as entry into Rhinebeck and snacks throughout the weekend. Additionally, built into that cost is eeeeeevil socialism. We’d like to be able to support some people who would not otherwise be able to attend because of lack of money – so we’ve rounded that number up a bit (yes, if you can toss in a bit extra toward the scholarship fund we’d appreciate that too).

All of that said, we need to start figuring out who is going to attend. To that end, we’ve created an email address, a poll, and a paypal account. Mattir, Onion Girl and Muse all have access to all three. The email address is RhinebeckHorde at google’s email service.


If you have any questions, please email us.

*Yes, there will be a harassment policy. It will be made by radical, shrieking, feminist harpies and will be enforced by making sure no one has any fun (and sharp pointy sticks). No, you may not sexually harass the sheep.

Whew, good. I was wondering what their intent towards the sheep might be.

Wait, what? A Pharyngula assault on a sheep and wool festival? What have I wrought?


  1. nms says

    what gives these ebil prudish ovinnazis the right to police harmless flirting between consenting men and sheep?!

  2. DLC says

    Poll ? an internet poll ? I think not.
    besides, I’m rather distant from New Amsterdam.

  3. kevinv says

    Been to Rhinebeck, it’s really nice. The FDR library is near by and highly recommended. The biplane tour of Hudson Bay area is neat.

  4. says

    I am so sad. I’ve always wanted to go to Rhinebeck. Unfortunately, I have no money, and a dog that currently needs ’round the clock care.

    Someone find some pretty wool for me to knit, please!

  5. Bjarni says

    Hey that sounds awesome! Also, I can’t come :(

    I do hope you all have a great time, as do the sheep.

  6. craign says

    Well, it’s nice to know multiple people will have access to the donation account. This way we know that they’re not out to FLEECE people!!!!

    My first comment on Pharyngula and it’s just awful!!

  7. captainahags says

    Hey, an event near me! Don’t let anyone pull the wool over your eyes, New York in fall is baautiful…

  8. bad Jim says

    It might not be the best idea to get attached to the sheep until you know who’s on the menu. It’s not just cheese and knitting, you know.

  9. timanthony says

    Say it with a strong Orstrilian* accent…

    The Orstrilian outback. Where men are tough, women are scarce, and sheep are nervous.

    * spelling by Spike Milligan

  10. Louis says

    A man’s right to sexually harass a sheep of marriageable age and appropriate sex has been handed down since immemorial. I shall not rest until this vile calumny of over protecting sheep is ended.

    Sheep, with their coquettish glances, their ears at raunchy angles and those legs! Don’t get me started on the tails. Frankly this is Political Correctness Gone Mad. I shall be writing to my MP.


  11. Kevin Anthoney says

    No, you may not sexually harass the sheep.

    But I’ve nibbled on the leg of a sheep before, and nobody objected!

  12. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Kevin Anthoney, I bet your nibbling was from the leg from a sheep carcass, not the leg of a sheep.

  13. raym says


    Um… Hudson Bay is a mighty long way from Rhinebeck for a biplane. Hudson Valley – not so far.

  14. says

    Maybe they should target the vintage airplane show there next time. While it took a lotta faith to go up in those old biplanes, there would be good opportunities to discuss scientifically how kites with engines worked.

  15. nora says

    One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard was when a friend read a story about a man who was charged with sexually assaulting a sheep.

    He shook his head sadly and said “When will men learn that baa means baa?”

  16. Ogvorbis: I Am ObtuseMan says

    Filled out.

    Will talk with Wife regarding attendence.

    Will talk with Boss regarding attendence.

    I may come over just on Saturday for a dazed trip.

    Not sure yet.

    Not sure why I filled out the survey when I know so little of what I will be doing.

  17. says


    I wish I could attend this year (I went to the first little Horde gathering in Rhinebeck 2 years ago), but the sheep and wool bizness is a week before my due-date and two hours from my docs and hospital, so I’mma stay home.

    Maybe next year.

    If any of the Horde finds themselves passing through my neck of the woods on the way to Rhinebeck, you’re more than welcome to pop by for a cup of coffee and some lunch. :)

  18. says

    I went last year and it was a lot of fun. My resolution would be to arrive earlier , in time for the Friday night potluck reception, and stick with the group more. And labels! People need “Hi my ‘nym is ____” labels at the dinners so I can sort them out. Or huge place-setting signs. Yes, we had lovely Rhinebeck group tags complete with octopus graphic but I’m a little slow on names.

  19. pensnest says

    A Pharyngulite Horde subset *and* Sheep! Sounds incredibly tempting. Alas that I cannot go.

  20. opposablethumbs says

    Sounds like so much fun! Sheep, I can take ’em or leave ’em (unless in the form of roast lamb, om nom nom), but maple candyfloss … miam. And mainly, principally and above all – meeting the Horders!

    Alas, I’m on the wrong continent entirely – so I will content myself with wishing you all a fantastic meet-up. Have a wonderful time, and tell us all about it afterwards!

  21. Mattir says

    Crap. I’m sitting in a Starbucks along an interstate, driving home from delivering Maternal Comfort™ to the DaughterSpawn (the camp where she works still sans electricity since last week’s derecho), when SonSpawn informed me with glee that there is an alpaca shaped hole in our Rhinebeck harassment policy.

    There will be no harassment of any sort of fiber animal.. Do feel free to have at the cotton plants, linen and nettle stems, hemp plants, and sugar maple trees, at least until the guards show up to escort you from the premises for public indecency…

    (NowSonSpawn is telling me that I cannot change the harassment policy rules at this point in the proceedings. That child is just not normal. Perhaps I’ll leave him home that weekend.)

  22. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    Maybe they should target the vintage airplane show there next time.

    We will, actually–or at least, that’s definitely an option if anyone would like. Last year we had a few spouses or other folks that weren’t interested in the festival and went elsewhere for the day. Which is absolutely fine–the whole point of the weekend is spending time with friends and relaxing; if sheep aren’t your thing, there’s a lot of other things to do in the area.

    Though I will say the festival is fun even if you have no interest in fiber arts of any kind–I’m more or less allergic to almost all of the fiber-things they had and still enjoyed myself. The festival is basically like a state fair, with a few less rides (though there is a kid-center with moon-bounce and other activities) and a lot more animals. There were the usual deep-fried things on sticks, cotton-candy, funnel-cakes and other fair food, exhibits, sheep-herding exhibitions, a mini-zoo (with lemurs & turtles, among others), vendors selling arts & crafts, local food or specialties (hot sauce, pickles, jams, breads, pastries), jewelry, bath products… It’s honestly a hell of a lot of fun. :)


    And labels! People need “Hi my ‘nym is ____” labels at the dinners so I can sort them out.

    We will do the name-tags again this year, promise, though I cannot garuantee people will remember to keep them on.

    …hang on…yes, I can! We have a harassment policy! That means we can make rules on anything we want and make people do it no matter if it’s illegal or not! Ha! There will no name-tags, there will be mandatory forehead tattoos! With tentacles!


    @Ogvorbis: Filled out.

    Yay!! Even if it’s just a day-trip, we’d love to have you. :) Don’t worry about not having all the info–this is just a preliminary to get any idea of who wants to come & how many. Once we get that settled, we can talk with people individually about financial support if needed, or transportation arrangements–carpooling, etc. Last year we were able to have folks come from some fairly significant distances and manage to cope with some fairly significant financial limitations. We can’t guarantee to help everyone, but we’ll do our best. :)


    So far, it looks like we’re going to easily exceed last year’s attendance of 30+, which may also bring the con cost down if we get better group rates from the hotel. Also, by the way, we got our first troll registration, so I feel like we’ve passed some type of ‘con’ milestone–we’re really official now! ;)

  23. julietdefarge says

    There’s a Sheep & Wool festival in MD, too:
    40th anniversary May 4, 5 2013.
    Not too soon to start planning a meetup!
    The array of junk and artisanal carnival food is awesome, including lamb sausage. Llamas and alpacas, weird heritage varieties of sheep, the ‘sheep to shawl’ contest, where teams compete to shear, hand spin, and weave.
    Women with pointy sticks a.k.a knitting needles will be keeping an eye on those who show up with boots that fit loosely about the calf.

  24. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    Women with pointy sticks a.k.a knitting needles will be keeping an eye on those who show up with boots that fit loosely about the calf.

    Will there be a booth selling velcro gloves? I seem to have misplaced mine.

  25. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    You forgot the magician.

    I did…I vaguely remember him. Weren’t we mocking him?

  26. Patricia, OM says

    Drat! NY is too far for me, but I will be sending a gift. Would you e-mail me Mattir?

    Louis – May I suggest that if you are looking for a sheep special friend, go for a Jacob, they’re the horniest breed you’ll ever see. *innocent smirk*

  27. Sili says

    I did…I vaguely remember him. Weren’t we mocking him?

    I don’t know if you were that cruel. I was in the show.

  28. b. says

    (wails in sadness in the background) I’ve been wanting to go to Rhinebeck for freaking years now. *sobs*. Instead, this years’s aggregate expendible income is going towards my heart surgery. Yay? Not nearly as much fun. But, whilst I’m laying on the couch recuperating at the moment, I’m pre-drafting some fucking gorgeous Gotland and will be spinning with all y’all in spirit when the time comes. Truthfully, it’ll be more of a blend; the houserabbit’s moulting right now and is insisting on “helping”.

    Here’s wishing every attending Praryngula-ite a ton of fiber and that your credit cards don’t set off too many smoke alarms.

  29. kookaburra1701 says

    Aw, man. I want to go to Rhinebeck but I’m on the other coast. I do go to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene every year. Any one else going there in 2013? And who all has Rav accounts?

  30. kookaburra1701 says

    @b #36 – all of the yarn and fiber that comes into my apartment ends up blended with at least 10% cat hair.

  31. Patricia, OM says

    kookaburrai701 – Huzzah! YES! I’m going to Black Sheep Gathering in 2013 (best layed plans and all). I’m in the Rav group of Pharyngula Phans (sp). Naughty Marvin is going too.

  32. kookaburra1701 says

    ooh, I didn’t know there was a Pharyngula group – I’m in Atheist & Agnostic Crafters.

  33. triskelethecat says

    I’m gonna be there (and bringing Sili) and hopefully will also bring some other friends. If anyone needs a bed for a night (or more) I am also now the proud posesser of an inflatable bed (much more comfortable than my sofa).

    Yay for Rhinebeck! I’ve already put in my vacation request – I am NOT going to have to hurry home for anything this year. Unfortunately, at the moment can’t give more than for me.

  34. Mattir says

    If anyone wants to learn to spin (the making yarn kind, not the faux bicycling kind). I will be setting up a class on Friday evening, so that your perusal of the flufffiez and spindles will be more informed on Saturday (which will mean that you can get nicer stuff with which you will have more fun).

    Also, Peruvian musicians, kangaroos (don’t ask me why), various competitions (chopstick knitting, drop spindling, etc.)” and lovely craft items for those who don’t want to make their own stuff,

  35. Taz says

    Well the sheep sound boring, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the radical, shrieking, feminist harpies.

    When do you get the best shrieking? At dusk?

  36. says

    @b (36)

    Are you unable to come because you’ll be recuperating, or is it merely the money?

    Cause certain members of our blog do make lots of monies (*coughGS12cough*) and would possibly be able to save up a little more for someone else’s trip if necessary.

  37. IndyM, pikčiurna says

    I plan to go and am very excited (although, as a Pharyngula newbie, I’m also a bit intimidated at the thought of meeting some of my Horde idols…).

    Btw, I live in Manhattan, and am going to see if I can borrow my friend’s car for that weekend. If anyone is going up from the city and wants a ride, let me know!

  38. David Marjanović says

    I, too, can contribute to the Horde Hoard.

    Ogvorbis and IndyM! Are you still reading this by any chance?

    I may come over just on Saturday for a dazed trip.

    *pounce* *hug* Please stay for long enough than I can meet you. Unfortunately, I can only arrive on Saturday evening (possibly late afternoon or so).

    I’m also a bit intimidated at the thought of meeting some of my Horde idols…

    *pounce* *hug* I can introduce them to you slowly, one by one. They don’t bite much, and they’re mostly soft & cuddly. :-]