The way the lamb was bleating, it could have been the end of the world.

But Red Bud resident Craig Hick was actually doing the animal a favor. With temperatures in the high 80s, he was removing the lamb's winter coat.

In one hand, Hick held a clipper about twice the size as the one barbers usually use. With the other hand, he grasped the animal. Hick pushed the clipper forward, lifting a mat of wool.

"Bleat!" the animal yelled.

Two girls watched in awe as Hick pushed again and again.

"Bleat! Bleat!"

In five minutes, the shearing was done. And a crowd that had gathered for the hourly sheep shearing demonstration at Saturday's annual Southern Illinois Sheep and Craft Festival at the Monroe County Fairgrounds scattered.

They headed to spinning demonstrations, sheep dog demonstrations and a lunch featuring all different kinds of lamb.

Hick, 27, a brick layer who estimates he shears about 2,000 sheep a year on weekends, led the lamb back to a pen.

"The best thing for them is when we sit them on their butt. They really don't move around that much," Hick said.

The best thing for some spinner was the four to five pounds of wool left behind, ready to be turned into a sweater.

Bobby Bayne, 74, of Waterloo, knows the value of that wool. The sheep farmer was selling wool for $10 a pound at a booth in the fairground's commercial building.

"You probably need two pounds for a sweater," Bayne said.

Not far away, Kathy Sneider, 52, of Collinsville, was spinning wool.

"You're creating it from the start to finish," said Sneider, a transportation specialist at Scott Air Force Base. "I find spinning very calming."

One more person who was using an old-fashioned spinning wheel was Nancy Barnett, 69, of Alton, Mo.

Barnett started spinning about 26 years ago. She now has a prosperous business selling fiber.

"I have a lot of friends here," Barnett said.

Barnett raises sheep and angora rabbits with her husband, Bill Barnett.

While Nancy Barnett was spinning, her husband was at a picnic table eating a lamb sandwich with potato salad and pork and beans.

"It's lean, low fat. It's a good meat for you to eat. I've slightly got diabetes," Bill Barnett said.

Besides, he said, his wife doesn't allow him to eat any of his sheep. "So I have to come and eat theirs," he said.