All over the United States, alpaca farms will be opening their doors this weekend to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days and Happy Rock Farm in Gladstone will be opening to the public for its second year in a row.
National Alpaca Farm Days will kick off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Happy Rock Farm in Gladstone with demonstrations where attendees can feed and pet the alpacas. A gift shop and concessions will also be available. With 32 alpaca on the Happy Rock Farm, this weekend will offer educational farm tours allowing for people to be able to see the benefits of owning an alpaca, Happy Rock Farm owner Amanda Shriver said.
“We do a little farm tour and we also show people what we do with the fiber because we’re fiber farmers. So we’re going to be skirting some fiber. People get to see some carding. I’m going to have some knitters here doing some projects,” Shriver said.
Along with the up-close and personal intercourters with the alpacas, all the products produced from the fiber will be available for purchase at the farm store, Shriver said, adding, people will also be able to take pictures with the alpacas. The new additions of crias — or baby alpacas — that were born over the summer and early fall will be eye catchers for families as well.
Though last year’s National Alpaca Farm Days did not go quite as planned due to inclement weather, Shriver is hoping this weekend’s windy forecast will not deter people from learning about these interesting mammals.
“I think alpacas are just unique animals. A lot of people have a lot of questions about the difference between what a llama and an alpaca is. And so, I don’t think people realize all of the possibilities of their fiber, how long they live and how much fiber an alpaca can produce. But to be honest with you, I think people come out because they think they’re cute,” she said with a chuckle. “And that’s probably a great reason too because I get to tell people, ‘Well not only are they cute, but they do all these other great things.’”
This event is the perfect way to get outside and see what farm life is all about not only for children but adults too who have never seen an alpaca before or the other distinctive animals on the farm including babydoll sheep and a lionhead rabbit, Shriver added.
“I’m really excited. I’m a little nervous about the weather, moreso about the wind. But I love sharing the alpacas with people,” she noted. “... They’re a really green animal. They don’t eat very much, they have pads on their feet instead of hooves and so they don’t tear up the ground as much. They’re just really awesome little animals. Each one has their own personality, they (each) have their own name, they’re really unique and so when you have 32, it’s like having a classroom full of children. I know each one. I know their little quirks, I know their health issues, I know what to do with them and how they’re going to react and things like that. I like sharing that with other people.”
With the current health situation, tickets have been limited and are on a reserve-basis through eventbrite.com and are free. Saturday’s event is currently sold out, but 30 tickets remain for Sunday’s alpaca demonstrations. For more information, visit the Happy Rock Farm Facebook page.