By SHELLY STRAUTZ-SPRINGBORN
MARSHALL, Mich. — An Alpaca Pen Sale and Trade Show is Oct. 13-14 in the Sheep Building at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall. Organized by the Michigan Alpaca Livestock and Commerce Assoc. (MI-ALPACA), the event will include approximately 50 alpacas for sale from about a dozen Michigan farms, a variety of wares from several vendors and free informational seminars.
Cora Foley, MI-ALPACA president, said the pen sale Oct. 14 is a new event based on an old premise – the county fair marketplace for livestock.
“This sale offers an opportunity for smaller breeders to showcase and sell their breeding stock without the pressure of a live auction,” she said. “Live auctions are very stressful for the alpacas. It also offers the buyer a more relaxed atmosphere to view and carefully select animals without the pressure of making snap decisions to place bids, like in a live auction.”
Interested buyers may view alpacas for sale during both days of the event; however, animals will only be sold Oct. 14 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. through a private sale process between the buyer and the seller.
An “Alpaca 101” session will be offered Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Members of MI-ALPACA will share general information about alpacas as a guide for getting started raising the animals. Each seminar will last about one hour, with time for questions.
Alpaca performance demonstrations will be at noon and 2 p.m., featuring alpacas and their handlers maneuvering an obstacle course.
Dr. Anthony Stachowski, DVM, one of the original importers of alpacas who traveled Peru in the 1990s selecting alpacas for export to the United States, will share his experiences during a presentation at 10 a.m. Oct. 14.
He also will review the pedigrees of the alpacas offered for sale during the event and will offer information about the qualities that were present in their imported ancestors. Admission is free.
For those interested in alpaca products, a marketplace will be open both days. A variety of alpaca yarn – most of it hand-spun and -dyed – will be available. In addition, alpaca clothing such as sweaters, hats, socks, gloves, scarves and shawls will also be for sale, as well as home décor and collectible items such as blankets, rugs and handmade toys.
Foley said most of the items are unique and are not available in traditional retail stores.
On Oct. 13, visitors can also enjoy Marshall’s Harvest Festival Craft Show, which will be running in various buildings on the fairgrounds from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Alpaca Pen Sale and Trade Show is Oct. 13 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fairgrounds are located at 720 Fair Street in Marshall.