Had it not been for Twitter and someone’s small mention of the Maryland Alpaca Festival this weekend… well, I wouldn’t have been able to see these precious faces! The huge Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in May attracts thousands of tourists – literally people from all over the world – all descending on the fairgrounds of this rural patch. The Alpaca Festival doesn’t have the same storied history or the huge crowds, but I am not complaining! I got a prime parking spot, and didn’t have to wait in line for anything. And I got to pet lots of alpacas!
I met up with my friend Isel and we had the best time talking to the farmers and vendors, feeling the yarns, and planning some knits. All the farms represented were Maryland farms, so it was a great way to support these local businesses. We both had a good laugh over the two alpacas with pop culture names: Bad Romance and Hot Toddy. Their owner was telling us that they are just over a year old. They were communicating with each other with these little hums and grunts.
There are two types of alpacas: the Suri with their silky locks and the Huacaya with the fluffy pillowy hair. Both are native to the Andrean regions of South America. They are a domesticated camelid, but smaller than the llamas and camels you see – some only about 3-4 feet tall. Their wild ancestors, the vicunas, still roam in the Andes. The alpaca was domesticated long ago, with their fiber prized for its silkiness, and hypoallergenic qualities.
Isel dabbles in spinning, so she brought home some roving and some lovely green yarn. I happened upon some burnt orange yarn that was hard to pass up. It’ll be perfect for a cardigan…