Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Memorial Coliseum Site Of Largest Alpaca Show In Midwest

For more information, contact:

Lynne Johnson at 608-845-7317 or [email protected]

MADISON, WI – More than 600 alpacas and almost 300 exhibitors will come from throughout the United States and Canada to compete at the Fourth Annual Great Midwest Alpaca Festival Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30.

This full-fleece halter, obstacle and performance show, certified by the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, will be held in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The festival is free and open to the public. Parking is $4.75.

In addition to nonstop competition in two show rings, there will be vendors selling alpaca yarn, sweaters, hats and socks, as well as alpaca teddy bears. The popular fiber demonstration and display area will feature local and regional artisans taking raw alpaca fleece and processing it into yarn and finished garments. Skirting, carding, spinning and knitting machine demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the weekend. A second area of competition is the fleece show, where the prime fleece of the alpaca will be judged for fineness, handle, brightness and uniformity in color.

Saturday seminars will feature “Basics of Alpaca Care,” with Chardon, Ohio veterinarian and alpaca breeder Dr. Ruthanne McCaslin, who serves on the Alpaca Research Foundation’s development committee. Pamela White, a Madison tax consultant, will talk about “The Tax Benefits of Breeding Alpacas.” She will cover various tax considerations, expense allocation and depreciation issues. She will discuss the differences in how breeding livestock is treated vs. inventory animals and bartering transaction and installment sales. On Sunday morning, both speakers will be participate in an Alpacas 101 panel discussion, which will give new breeders or those interested in learning more about raising alpacas an opportunity to ask questions.

The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival has donated more than $30,000 to various alpaca-related charities through its annual silent auction. It has been through the generosity of both those donating items to the silent auction and those bidding on these items that money has been raised to benefit the International Camelid Institute at Ohio State University, the Alpaca Research Foundation and the Quechua Benefit, a private, charitable organization that provides dental assistance, clothing, school supplies and food to the Quechua people of Peru. The Quechua Indians, who domesticated the vicuna more than 5,000 years ago, are the ancestral keepers of the alpaca. In 2005, the money raised from the silent auction went to The Alpaca Project, a joint venture between World Concern and Heifer Project International, to provide assistance to families living in an impoverished rural area on the Antiplano in Peru.

Breeding alpacas is one of the fastest-growing livestock breeding industries in the country. The first alpacas were imported in 1984 from South America. The most recent figures from the Alpaca Registry, Inc. show there are more than 6,000 alpaca breeders and some 65,000 alpacas in the U.S. today. In Wisconsin alone, there are 220 alpaca breeders and more than 2,000 alpacas. Alpacas are sheared each spring and the fleece that is collected goes to a national fiber co-op, local mills or fiber artisans to be processed and spun into yarn. The fleece, which comes in 22 colors, is highly sought after by fiber artists.

The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. For further information and a complete schedule of activities, call 608-825-9222 or go to www.gmaf.info.

Calendar Listing:

The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival

April 29-30, 2006

Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center

Madison, Wisconsin

More than 600 alpacas and almost 300 exhibitors will come from throughout the United States to compete at the Fourth Annual Great Midwest Alpaca Festival Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In addition to nonstop competition in two show rings, seminars will be conducted on the business of breeding alpacas and vendors will be selling alpaca yarn, sweaters, hats and socks, and alpaca teddy bears. The popular fiber demonstration and display area will feature local artisans giving skirting, carding, spinning and knitting machine demonstrations. Open to the public free. Parking $4.75. More information at www.gmaf.info or by calling 608-825-9222.