This weekend is the annual Alpaca Extravaganza at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. As you may or may not know, Colorado is home to oodles of family farms where people raise a variety of animals–sheep, goats, llama, even yak–not only for meat or milk but also for their huggable, cuddlable, spinnable fur. Alpaca seem to be one of the most popular of these fiber animals. They’re docile, they make great pets, and they require very little space as far as grazing animals go. This weekend is your chance to get out to Longmont and meet some of them.
Seminars continue throughout the Extravaganza. The first, “Ranch Set-up for Efficiency and Ease,” is today at 10:00 a.m, followed by “How to Choose Your First Alpaca” at 11:00. The last will be tomorrow’s 2:00 p.m. “What to Do With All That Fiber,” which, if your fiber stash looks anything like mine (mega-voluminous, practically exploding out of the closet), you might find helpful.But a bigger attraction than the seminars are the animals themselves. Some 15 or so participating farms will be there with their critters, and you can walk right up to the pens and get all gooey-eyed looking at (and if you’re lucky, petting) the absolute adorableness of them. And as if alpaca weren’t heart-melting enough, there’s paco-vicuña, an alpaca-like animal bred for the qualities of its shy and endangered ancestor, the Andean vicuña. If you get a chance to touch the show-and-tell paco-vicuña fleece, don’t pass it up. (Me: “It’s so soft I don’t quite know when I’ve started touching it.” My husband: “It’s like touching the idea of softness.”)
To reiterate: All these awesome farms, animals, fiber and information are on display for your education and entertainment this weekend at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. On Saturday, February 27, hours are from 9:00 to 5:00; on Sunday, from 10:00 to 4:00. You can call (970) 484-9420 for more information or visit the Alpaca Breeders Alliance of Northern Colorado on the web.