GRASSY CREEK — Landmark Farm Alpacas hosted an open house celebrating National Alpaca Farm Day Saturday, Sept. 29.
Many Canadian and American Alpaca farms open their doors to the public on National Alpaca Farm Day to show off farms and educate their surrounding communities, according to co-owner Rachelle Bridges.
“Its primarily educational,” Bridges said. “We’re open year round, and people make private farm visits. For other people it’s like, ‘come out to our farm and look at our alpacas.’”
Bridges added that the United States Department of Agriculture classifies alpacas as fleece-producing livestock, the same as sheep. This fleece is used to produce socks, stuffed animals, hats and more displayed at the farm.
“When they’re sheared, we make a lot of the same products you can make from wool,” Bridges said. “It is a luxury fiber and a finer, softer, warmer, lighter weight. It’s amazing how light weight it can be but very warm.”
The open house included educational signs, posters and more to help the community learn the importance of and benefits to alpaca farming. For instance, alpaca fleece is becoming more popular in fashion because alpaca farming has less negative impacts on the environment. This is because alpacas do not need an excess amount of food to live healthy lives, and their small padded feet aren’t as harsh on pasture grounds, according to Bridges.
As part of the event, 10 percent of all proceeds were donated to Happy Tails Rescue of West Jefferson. Bridges said the farm wanted to raise money for a charity that was animal-oriented, and Happy Tails was the perfect choice. Landmark also raffled off items to raise money for the rescue organization.
Overall, Bridges and her staff held the event in an effort to offer a fun, educational weekend event to the Ashe County community.
“The importance of National Alpaca Farm Day is introducing people to alpacas and a little bit about their history,” Bridges said. “We’ve (had) educational posters all around so people (could) go through and do a self-guided tour. From then on hopefully they understand a little bit more about alpacas.”