sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 17, 2014

alpaca festival
posted by soe 1:55 am

Santa's Helpers, Teddy and Frances


The highlight of this weekend was the Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival. Held at the Howard County Fairgrounds (home to the gigantic Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival each spring), this was a much smaller, homier gathering.


For those who’ve been to Sheep & Wool, you know how crowded the fairground lot gets, requiring people who arrive in the late morning to park across the street (those of us who arrive in the afternoon often can find spots closer in already vacated by the early birds). Well, today, you could pull right up. There were about 40 cars in the front lot and people were able to park in the fairground lot itself all afternoon. Also, for comparison, this festival only took up three of the animal barns, one of the northern buildings (where they sell the festival gear from in the spring), and two of the small buildings past the Lions Club food building.

Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival

There was a nice assortment of vendors (including local farmers selling fleeces and handspun natural yarn, several angora rabbit sellers, and more generic yarn purveyors, as well as people selling ceramics, food, and knit products) and a dozen alpaca to feed and pet and, if you so desired, buy. (Did you know the alpaca industry is highly regulated? You have to register every alpaca that is born on your property and if you sell one, you have to include its title, not dissimilar to selling a car.)

Persimmon Tree Farm

Anyone in a barn was bundled up, with warm drinks on hand, but those in the more protected buildings were more relaxed, with many of them spinning or knitting in their booths. We wandered around, chatted with a few vendors, made a couple purchases, bought some lunch from the food truck on site, and watched two alpacas interact with two dogs. (They did not care for the munchkin dog, but were fascinated by the husky. The husky, in turn, thought them interesting singly, but got a little skittish when they moved in unison his direction.)

Alpacas & Husky

Alpacas & Husky

Before we left, we took a second turn through the barns, stopping to feed some of the alpaca. (They’re noses are very tickly, and the alpaca are not above chewing (gently) on your fingers if they think they can suck anything off them.)

Feeding the Alpacas

While today was sparsely attended, apparently the crowds were larger on Saturday, which makes sense, since that was the nicer of the weekend days. Today’s weather was overcast and a bit raw, and we ran into rain within 15 minutes of leaving the festival, which meant the poor vendors had to pack up in precipitation, never a fun thing for fiber folk.

Rudi and the Alpacas

We had a nice time and were glad to have gone. Large fiber festivals are an experience not to be missed, but the smaller ones are more enjoyable for those who like a less harried environment or the ability to chat with the people raising or making the yarn you knit with.


The weekend also included sleeping in, laundry, watching some classic movies, a trip to the garden, a bike ride to a coffeehouse a couple miles away (look for a coffeeneuring post later this week), a trip to the farmers market, replacing the colored lights around the living room, and finishing a book and a knitting project.

How about you? How was your weekend?

Weekending along with Pumpkin Sunrise.

Category: knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.