DENVER – Is the apocalypse upon us? Who knows! But here’s one thing that’s certain: The alpacalypse is definitely happening this weekend as hundreds of them convene in Denver for the Great Western Alpaca Show.
Hosted by the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, the free three-day show will feature alpacas competing in a ring competition, as well as classes judging conformation and fleece quality in many categories for both Suri and Huacaya alpacas, according to organizers.
Throughout the weekend, artisans will also showcase alpaca fiber and will demonstrate the art of spinning, wet felting, crocheting, table loom weaving, making rolags, and much more.
Looking to get your hands on some alpaca fur? Vendors and farm displays will be on site to sell the latest alpaca fashions and hand-crafted items to prepare you for the cold of winter.
Need a little more motivation to go? How ‘bout the chance to come face-to-face with them in the Alpaca Selfie Booth? Yes, you read that right – you’ll be able to take selfies with the alpacas for free!
On Saturday, prepare to be amazed as dozens of participants take to the ring to complete alongside their alpacas in the Alpaca Costume Contest. Costumes will be judged on the comfort of the animal with foreign objects on their head, legs and feet, and how imaginative the costume is as well as the story each participant must write telling about the costume.
The will be held at the National Western Complex on Friday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Alpacas are cousins to the llama and are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
Today, the United States boasts two types of alpacas. Although almost physically identical, the two types of alpacas are distinguished by their fleece. The Huacaya is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. On the other hand, the Suri is rarer and has fleece that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.
Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors.
Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. They’re social animals that seek companionship and communicate most commonly by softly humming.
Alpacas are shorn without harm every 12 to 18 months. Each alpaca can produce five to ten pounds of fleece.