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Alpacas coming to International Horse Park

Oganizers say Alpacas are gentle animals enjoyed by young and old alike.

Oganizers say Alpacas are gentle animals enjoyed by young and old alike.

CONYERS — Clayton County residents are being invited to take a short trip to Conyers as The Georgia Alpaca Association presents The Royal Alpaca Challenge show at the International Horse Park, 1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers, Nov. 3, 4.

Children and adults will have an opportunity to meet the delightful animals as they compete in the show ring and in obstacle, costume and showmanship classes. Alpaca farms from across the US will be represented at one of Georgia’s most beautiful venues. Free admission.

Vendors will offer sweaters, hats, scarves, rugs and yarn made of the luxurious alpaca fleece. Attendees can visit the Fiber Lounge for free loom weaving, carding, skirting and fiber sorting and spinning demonstrations, and browse the silent auction table and bid products.

New this year are the often requested Fiber Arts Classes. A 3 hour class in Triloom Weaving, a 90 minute Drop Spindle class and 2 hour classes in Beginners Knitting or Crocheting which include the needles/hook. Those interested can visit the event website for fees and registration for any of these classes.

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, is the rarer and has fiber that resembles locks that drape down the side of the animal and is very silky and lustrous.

Organizers say the lifestyle provided by raising alpacas appeals to retirees and others right down to youngsters who can easily handle the gentle alpaca. Call 706-897-2379 for more details on this free event or visit www.RoyalAlpacaChallenge.com.