Vendors will offer sweaters, hats, scarves, rugs and yarn made of the luxurious alpaca fleece. Knitters and fiber artists will enjoy the fiber arts display and demonstrations. Visit the Knitters Lounge where you can relax, spin a yarn, learn or share new knitting, spinning or weaving techniques or buy fiber art supplies. Browse the silent auction table and bid on a treasure.
Alpacas are native to South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile and were first imported into the US in 1984. In 1997, the US had roughly 1,000 alpaca owners. Today, the numbers have more than quadrupled with the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) showing more than 4,000 members. Over 100,000 registered alpacas now reside throughout North America. Interest in raising this unique, fiber animal continues to grow.
While alpaca fiber is recognized worldwide as the elite, natural fiber of the fashion world, the lovable, curious, charming animal itself is the first draw. Belonging to the camelid family and resembling a small llama, they are divided into two types distinguished mainly by different fiber characteristics. Huacaya (wah-KI'-ya), the more common of the two, is fluffy with fiber standing perpendicular to the skin. The Suri (surrey), which was first imported in 1991, has fiber that resembles locks that drape down the side of the animal and is very silky and lustrous.
The lifestyle provided by raising alpacas appeals to retirees and others right down to youngsters who can easily handle the gentle alpaca. Come meet and learn about this beautiful animal. Call (706) 897-2379 for more details on this free event or visit www.RoyalAlpacaChallenge.com.