Friday, October 2, 2009

First Annual Alpaca Farm Open House

We had our first annual Alpaca Farm Open House for National Alpaca Farm Days last weekend. The weather was decent...a little windy the second day, and we had a great turn out.

We had about 250 people show up during the 2 day event. We advertised through facebook, email, on our websites, posters, fliers, television commercials through AOBA (Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association) and we posted signs, like the one above, at all the major intersections around our house. We plan to advertise in the newspaper next year.
We made a small pen and visitors were welcome to pet our little boys Riphaeus and d'Artagnan. Everyone commented on how soft d'Artagnan was. Luckily both boys did really well and didn't seem to mind all the attention. We had to put d'Artagnan back in with the herd every few hours so he could nurse. Once in a while, we would allow people to feed the alpacas through the fence, which visitors and the herd both enjoyed. Although the girls got a little feisty over the food and would occasionally spit on visitors (sorry Chicken Little). We were able to answer lots of questions and were even able to connect with some people who were just starting to research the alpaca industry. We also gave out brochures for people to take home to help them in their researching stage.
Inside the barn, we had 3 different raffles for alpaca products. Congratulations to those who won the raffles! We also sold lots of alpaca made products like hats, scarves, socks, gloves, needle felting kits, yarn, raw fiber, coloring books, bird nest kits, stuffed animals, finger puppets, and hay. Our big sellers were the finger puppets and the homemade hats that Noah and I both knitted out of hand spun alpaca yarn. We also had 3 different alpaca blankets on display on our skirting table with books showing different products that can be made out of alpaca fiber. I also did spinning demonstrations throughout the day and let others try it out if they were interested. We offered visitors fresh apple cider and homemade doughnut holes that my Grandmother made. She referred to them as "fat balls."

We are so grateful to everyone who visited our farm for the open house. We had people come from all over Michigan to see our alpacas. We had family, neighbors, farmers, other alpaca breeders, exotic animal breeders, bikers, fishermen, kayakers, and even a band (see their picture below...you can visit their website by following this link THE OUTER VIBE) stop by to visit! Thank you for stopping and we hope to see you again. It was a wonderful event that we plan on doing yearly. Thanks for coming and we hope you had as much fun as we did!

Pictured above is my mom and her second cousin Elyse. Elyse is wearing an alpaca hat and wearing an adorable shirt with a Quechua girl and and alpaca on it! She came dressed for the occasion!
I would like to say a special thank you to my mom Darcie and my Grandma Ethel for helping to make this event so successful. We couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for all your hard work in planting flowers, staining the barn, setting up, cooking, cleaning, baking, and helping us host the event! Thanks also to my cousins Alecia and Erinn who took some of the wonderful pictures that I borrowed for this post.

2 comments:

Alecia said...

Ohhhh Jillian! What a sweet post! Glad that your openhouse was a huge success! My roommate and I truly enjoyed the day! Thanks for letting me try to spin the alpaca fur, but maybe that will have to be a crafty project for the 2010 summer vacation....:) Thanks for inviting us to your farm for the day, it was a great fall time event! I look forward to many more!

Aunt Nancy said...

Since it's that time of year again Jillian, decided to browse LAST years Alpaca Farm Open House...

I'm assuming that you are not having one this year due to baby coming.