By Claire Benjamin
News Writer, U of I Extension
URBANA, Ill. — Meet an alpaca and experience one of the world’s most prized natural fibers during National Alpaca Farm Days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 24-25, at the True Colors Alpaca Farm in Caledonia, Ill.
National Alpaca Farm Days is a two-day event that invites the public to tour alpaca farms and learn more about this niche industry.
“We like to educate people about alpacas. A lot of people don’t know about them,” said Ken Adams, owner of True Colors Alpaca Farm. “People may have seen them at the zoo or in pictures, but few get the chance to actually see them up close and personal or interact with them.”
Adams encourages visitors to catch a farm tour and interact with 38 “gentle, curious and people-friendly” suri alpacas at their 7.5-acre farm.
In addition, True Colors Alpaca Farm owner Laura Adams will demonstrate hand spinning the alpacas’ natural fiber into yarn at the open house. This luxurious fiber, which has been compared to cashmere, is used to make clothing, accessories and art projects.
The Adamses and other vendors will be selling alpaca-fiber yarn, rugs, throws, socks, needle-felt goods and other items. Attendees can even purchase a registered show alpaca.
“Alpacas are an ideal livestock for small acreages,” said Ellen Phillips, local foods and small farms University of Illinois Extension educator. “With growth in the fiber arts, there are many value-added opportunities.”
This event is cosponsored by U of I Extension. For information about manure management, the Master Composter program, and animal science youth programs, stop by the Extension booth.
The fourth annual True Colors Alpaca Farm open house is free. However, attendees are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item for the Belvidere/Boone County Food Pantry to be entered in a raffle. A silent auction will also be held to benefit the food pantry.
The farm is at 14718 Illinois Route 76 in Caledonia, about 15 miles northeast of Rockford, or 7 miles north of Belvidere near the I-90 exit in Boone County.
For more about this event, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/downloads/40214.pdf or to learn more about True Colors Alpaca farm, visit www.truecolorsalpacas.com.
From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue