EDITOR’S NOTE: We incorrectly noted the event days previously. The correct dates are changed below. It kicks off today, Friday, April 1, and continues Saturday, April 2.
Imagine losing 10 pounds in one sitting.
Well that’s on tap for more than 100 alpacas and three llamas this weekend, when Kensington Prairie Farm in Aldergrove hosts a massive public shearing event. And new this year, they’ve added in a vendors market, live entertainment, facepainting, and even food trucks to round out the experience.
Now dubbed their Spring Shearing Market, the events runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (April 1 and 2), and if the last event held two years ago (missed in 2019 and ’20 due to COVID) is any indication the family farm expects more than 1,000 visitors.
Shearing is a requirement for good alpaca husbandry, explained Dee Milton, the farm manager and the granddaughter of owners Jim Dales and Catherine Simpson.
The farm shears its alpacas and llamas yearly. It is very important, Milton said, as they grow eight to 10 lbs of fibre per animal each year and failure to shear them can prove hard on the animals.
“As you can imagine, it would be quite hot under their fluffy coats in the hot days of summer,” Milton said.
“Personally, I love seeing how happy the animals are post-shear… They often can be seen skipping and ‘pronging’ in the field afterwards due to delight,” she said, getting excited about this weekend’s two-day event.
It was about a decade ago now that Kensington opened the shearing session to the public for the purpose of education.
“During the event, the visitors are encouraged to ask our shearer/fibre sorter questions. It’s a great way to learn how natural fibres begin the journey from fibre to Fashion,” Milton elaborated.
Well this year, they’re upping the anti with the event. For the first time, they’re adding a market component to the event, with more than a dozen artisan vendors from throughout the Fraser Valley.
“This is the first year, we are so excited!” Milton said.
The Kensington crew has spent the better part of the last several weeks preparing for this year’s event, admittedly a little more work than normal because of the extra components being added to this year’s shearing and market.
“It takes weeks of organization and set up, we say it is an ‘all-hands-on-deck,” Milton shared. “That means everyone must help in every way we can. Grandpa is often working hard to fine-tune the shearing table that he designed. Grandma is busy marking down items in the [on-site farmgate] store for our sales, making signage, bottling honey, making jam, and doing all of the behind-the-scenes work.”
On the weekend, they’ll have a team of about a dozen staff and a similar number of volunteers on hand to help with all facets of the event.
Admission for the event is $7.50 per person, with children five years and younger admitted free. Proceeds from ticket sales go to the farm’s alpaca rescue efforts – they’ve rescued 26 animals alone in the last year – plus some funds will go to a children’s charity in Peru (Quechua Benefit) that Kensington has supported for some time.
The farm is located at 1736 248th St. And more information is available online at kensingtonprairie.ca.
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