Sheep shearing and apple blossoms are two reasons for festivals out in Virginia this weekend. Saturday and Sunday, from 9 to 6, the folks out at Chester Farm, near Charlottesville are having their annual wool harvest. Hundreds of sheep will get a haircut, and visitors are welcome to watch. Competitions for the fastest shearers, carders, and spinners will go on continuously, and there'll even be a contest for the best sheepdog around. It costs $2.50 for adults, $1 for kids, and that includes rides on a hay wagon or (for the more adventurous) on a full-grown ram. To get to the farm, take I-95 to Route 3 in Fredericksburg. Go west ten miles to Route 20. Take 20 to the town of Orange, when you take a left onto Route 15. Then ride 13 miles on Route 15 to Route 22. The farm is two miles on the right. Call 703/832-3326.

In the Shenandoah Valley, as of this writing, the apple trees will be at their blooming peak this weekend. That's lucky, because Saturday and Sunday is the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. Some of the events open to the public are a grand parade that winds through town at 1:30 Saturday and six hours of crafts and music at War Memorial Park, starting at noon Sunday. Information booklets with the exact parade route are available in the center of town. To get to Winchester, take U.S. 50 or Route 17 right to the town. Call 703/662-3863.