The end of the summer holidays was marked in a special way in Fort Saskatchewan on Monday – as dozens of sheep made their way through the downtown as part of the city’s annual end-of-summer parade.

Every summer for the last 20 years, sheep graze in Legacy Park in Fort Saskatchewan.

It began as an economical and environmentally-friendly way to keep the grass mowed – and has since become a unique feature to the city.

“When the place started to get developed and they no longer needed the sheep to graze anymore they thought they’d take them home, but everybody said ‘what, those are our sheep,’ so they stayed on as tourism,” said Kathy Playdon, shepherd and owner of Brightbank Finnsheep Farm.

“We’ve been grazing here in the park right in the middle of the city.”

The sheep come out in early June and leave during an annual picnic and parade at the end of the Labour Day long weekend, marking the end of summer before school begins.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of people in the park here to say farewell to the sheep for the end of another grazing summer,” Playdon said.

“Everybody likes to feed the sheep, say hi to the dogs and enjoy watching the sheep graze.”

The sheep are led on a traditional walk through downtown as residents say their goodbyes.

Playdon takes the animals back to her farm in Stony Plain for the winter and will bring them back to downtown Fort Saskatchewan to graze next year.