Sunday, November 6, 2011

Michigan International Alpaca Fest

Alpacas!!!  Lots and lots of alpacas!!!  Last weekend my mother and I went to the Michigan International Alpaca Fest in Grand Rapids and had the chance to learn more about them.  I knew I loved the feel of their fur and... well... they are just so dang cute!  

Being able to get up close to the alpacas was a really neat experience.  Did you know they hum?  They don't kick and are pretty mellow, but not exactly tame.  The only one we saw that really craved his owner's attention had been bottle-fed after it's mother refused to take care of it.  They do need to be around other alpacas but they don't really cuddle.

We watched the alpacas compete for ribbons.  Well, their owners competed -- the alpacas just tolerated it.  The judge would check them all over and pull out tufts of their coats and lay them on his sleeve.  It was fun to watch.
The owners proudly displayed various ribbons from prior shows in their stalls -- along with information about breeding or buying their alpacas.

A gal I work with raises alpacas and was there with three of her own (shown above).  They won several ribbons the day after this photo was taken.  Way to go!

There were also numerous booths with socks, mittens, yarn, etc. for sale.  The only thing I really wanted was a drop spindle and some fiber to try making my own yarn.  I've been messing around with the one I ended up getting, but I can see this is going to take a little practice.  Once I get the hang of it, I'll have to post a bit of a how-to on this blog.
What a fun experience we had at the Alpaca Fest!  Can you believe it was a free event?  Oh, and I was invited to a farm open-house in December by one of the breeders at the show.  I'm not looking at owning alpacas at this point -- but I definitely enjoyed learning more about them and being able to start crafting yarn with their fluffy coats.


Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Alpaca Shows are interesting, aren't they? You provided good info on alpacas, especially that they aren't cuddly (or pet-like) and need to be with other alpacas.
Good luck with your plans to drop-spindle.

The Weekend Homesteader said...

That sounds exciting. I love to go to shows like that. I, too, am learning to spin on a drop spindle. It's interesting, and my work so far is pretty chunky.