If you’re going
• What: Alpaca shearing festival
• When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
• Where: Thunder River Alpacas, 7830 Thunder River Way
• Cost: Free admission; items can be purchased
• For more information, visit www.thunderriveralpacas.com.
A Forsyth County alpaca farm will open its doors to the community this weekend.
Rose Watts, who, along with husband Dennis, owns Thunder River Suri Alpacas in north Forsyth, said this weekend will be the farm’s annual shearing festival, which is free to attend.
She said the animals, which are related to llamas, get a haircut annually.
“We shear them once a year, right before it gets warm in the South,” she said.
Currently, the flock includes about 32 alpacas, including two babies born less than a week ago.
Due to those numbers, the shearing process will take several days. “We’ll be shearing this weekend and probably into next week and next weekend,” Watts said.
The festival is set for 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The public is welcome to come out and learn about the animals and how the shearing process works.
“We actually have to lift them up and lay them down on a mat and we stretch them out, feet and legs on either end,” she said. “We start with the blanket, which is the prime fiber, and we get that off and clean it up … then we go into the second layer.
“So we’ll kind of explain the different grades of the fiber and how it’s processed and what it’s used for.”
This is the third year the farm has held a shearing festival.
“People just love it,” Watts said. “If they see a fleece they like, they can buy it.”
She said the event is especially popular with the “fiber arts community.”
“They chime in with weaving, knitting, all the things they do with [the fiber], so it’s just really neat.”
Watts said some of those fiber artists will do demonstrations on site.
“We’ll have some knitters and crochetters here,” she said. “We’ll also be having refreshments and the farm store will be open, so it will be a good time for everyone.”