Swan Bay Folk Art Center – Port Republic, NJ


Swan Bay Folk Art Center
Port Republic, Atlantic County, NJ
Updated – March 25, 2020

Website – www.handsonhistory.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/HandsonHistory/

Gary and Niki Giberson are two very talented folks – carving duck decoys, making baskets, and weaving… helping keep those folk arts alive in South Jersey.  They are also very generous with their time and talent, opening a folk art center in the late 1980s to educate the public about these arts, even holding classes for the community.  They also keep their own flock of sheep, for wool purposes, and we’ve been fortunate enough  to make it to two events with the sheep:

Lamb Day Celebration – 2020

In February 2020, our boys went to meet some lambs!  There were brand new baby lambs at the farm, and families were invited to come visit hold the (some of them not so) little fellas.

The kids were all pretty thrilled to be so close to the lambs, even the Big Fella, who is still much smaller than any of them.

Sheep Shearing – 2016

Once a year, the family sheep get their annual haircut, and the Gibersons kindly let the public come watch the process and learn about sheep shearing.  So in April 2016, the boys and I (along with about two dozen other children) descended upon  the Swan Bay Folk Art Center to learn how sheep get sheared.

We showed up a little before the shearing began, and The Pres and Tree Rider went to make friends with the sheep (who are all named after Star Wars characters… the sheep, not my kids).


Being two, Tree Rider also tried to make friends with the fish in the fish pond.


Then, it was time for the shearing to begin.  The fellow who does it was really awesome, talking the kids through the steps, asking and answering questions.  The kids were allowed to touch some of the shorn wool, and to say hi to a baby lamb.


If you can’t tell, each boy is wearing a sheep shirt.  They were very proud of them.


Post haircut walk.

After a little while, it began to rain, but the shearing just moved inside the sheep shelter.

Didn’t make for as good of pictures (plus, I don’t like it raining on my camera), but the boys watched for another 45 minutes or so until we had to leave.  They loved every minute of it.

BIG thank you the Giberson family for having such a great event and letting the kids of South Jersey attend!  I highly recommend checking out their website and/or friending Swan Bay Folk Art Center on the Facebook,

If you want to know more about the fascinating story behind Gary and Niki Giberson’s Swan Bay Folk Art Center, check out the “Hands-on History” chapter from the excellent book Voices in the Pines: True Stories from the New Jersey Pine Barrens by Karen Riley.

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