Alpacas In

It’s rare to find an animal that can be both a smart, gentle companion and your source of wool for the winter, but that’s the alpaca for you. Already cuter and more intelligent than their friend the llama, alpacas are a hard breed to beat — at least they were until recently, when the folks at Switzer-Land Alpacas started getting creative with their livestock’s DNA. They’ve been breeding paco-vicuñas — a cross between alpacas and their wild South American ancestor, the vicuña. This new breed (new to the United States, anyway) has the latter’s super-fine fiber and the former’s longer and denser fleece. And if the website is any indication, they’re the cutest camel cousin yet, resembling a long-necked Bambi.

The newcomers will be hanging out, along with animals from twenty farms and more than a dozen vendors selling handmade and homespun clothing, at the Estes Park Alpaca Market, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park, 1209 Manford Avenue in Estes Park. Admission is free. Call 1-970-586-6104 for info.
Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2008

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Jessica Centers