We spent three hours at the festival, spoke to many merchants, crafts people, and artisans. We also sampled a bit of country fare, petted lots of animals, and generally had a great time.
Many of the displays were interesting and informative. One we found to be particularly interesting was from Springbrook Farm. The owners of Springbrook, Richard and Dorothy Bolton of Stow MA, raise Alpacas. The Boltons started their farm as a hobby when Richard Bolton, previously a banker, needed something to occupy his time. It is now a full time business.
Alpacas are native to the high Andes of South America. Because of that, they evolved to have a very lightweight fleece which makes for an incredibly soft fiber. We also learned they are herd animals and are thus only sold in pairs or more.
Alpacas are very unusual looking, gentle, and beautiful animals. If you want to find out more about these amazing animals, go check out the NEAOBA site.
The interest in Alpacas is definitely growing in the US. There are even government incentives available to those interested in starting their own Alpaca farms. If you want to learn more about Alpaca fiber and its use in fiber arts, there are many sites and publicatons devoted to the topic and related crafting activities.