Kensington Prairie Farm, a locally owned breeder and producer of alpaca fibre, is inviting the public to attend their annual shearing day on Friday, April 14, at their farm in Langley.
“Dave Carlson, our amazing shearer from Fort Macleod, Alta., will shear 80 alpacas in one day,” said Kensington Prairie Farm proprietor, Catherine Simpson. She and her farm staff of 12 will be on hand to help accomplish this considerable one-day feat. Carlson estimates that he shears about 13,000 sheep each year, along with 1,500 llamas and 1,500 alpacas.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Kensington Prairie Farm, located at 1736 248 St.
Refreshments from Krause Berry Farms will be available by donation to support the charity, Quechua Benefit. There will be a children’s Easter egg hunt in the garden by the shearing barn from 11 a.m. to noon.
“After shearing, we will ‘skirt’ each fleece to remove the coarse parts, sort by colour and general grade,” Simpson added.
Simpson continues her tradition of making the annual event accessible to the public. She sees increasing interest from people in learning what their clothing is made of, and where it comes from. That encouraged Simpson to build a Kensington Prairie Farm store on the property. The store stocks her own fibre that has been made into knitting yarn, socks, beanie hats and home décor items such as pillows, baby blankets and throws.
“It’s a great opportunity for families to bring their kids to see where alpaca fibre comes from, and how it begins its journey to become a baby blanket or sweater,” she said.
Visitors will be able to watch as alpacas are shorn by hand, a process that does not hurt the animals.
“It’s fun to see how energetic the alpacas are after ‘losing’ an average of five to 10 pounds of fleece,” Simpson said.
For more info, visit www.kensingtonprairie.ca.