|Visitors can take in two alpaca farms this weekend, including Arizona Alpacas, above.|
Alpaca breeders across the country - and in Prescott Valley - are celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days this weekend with meet-and-greet opportunities at two ranches north of Highway 89A on Coyote Springs Road.
Peaceful Prairie Ranch, 7375 N. Coyote Springs Road, has about 70 alpacas, including a new baby born Monday night, on its 10-acre property, said owner Wendy Dittbrenner.
Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, a free, casual self-guided tour will take you around the pens holding alpacas and Merino sheep, and a chicken coop, for chicken fans.
Dittbrenner will be dyeing alpaca fiber and at various times visitors can see spinning and weaving going on. The store is open with lots of beanies (caps), scarves and alpaca fiber for sale. Visitors can touch alpaca fiber samples and learn all about what alpacas eat, how long they live, and how they are considered a "green" livestock business.
"Out of respect for our alpacas and their two farm dog buddies, we ask that no other pets be brought on the self-guided tour of the ranch. The alpacas get a little frightened by dogs they don't know," she said.
Carry on down the road to Arizona Alpacas, 9235 N. Coyote Springs Road, where owners Noreen and Leon Vaughan welcome visitors to join in free activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. This farm offer hands-on "introductions," spinning demonstrations, and alpaca walks.
"We'll have alpacas on a lead for an opportunity for personal contact, small tours into the pens, and a raffle for a pair of two male fiber alpacas, t-shirts and gifts," Noreen Vaughan said. Tickets for the alpaca drawing are $25. She also offers other alpacas for sale at a reduced price during the weekend.
"The key thing is to educate the public," she said, describing her animals as "inquisitive and unique."
Arizona Alpacas also has a gift shop where visitors will find rugs, socks, sweaters, gloves, scarves, yarn and raw alpaca fiber for sale.
For more information on Peaceful Prairie Ranch, visit www.peacefulprairie.com or call 848-0267. For information on Arizona Alpacas, visit www.arizonaalpaca.com or call 775-3380.