Dates of Event: March 31-April 2, 2017 (photos taken April 1)
Location: Eastern States Exposition Center, Mallory Building, 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA (2 hours west of Boston, MA)
Parking: ample parking is provided, free of charge, at the rear and side of the Mallory Building
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Highlights: Alpacas, Alpaca shows, products made from Alpaca fleece
Web Site: North American Alpaca Show
Known for their seemingly ever present signature smile and calm demeanor, alpacas are one of the more popular animals in the New England area. Alpaca farms have been springing up more and more in the Northeast area. In fact, the New England Alpacas Owners and Breeders Association (NEAOBA) lists 85 breeders in the New England and New York area. Many of these breeders and owners met last weekend at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, MA. The owners and breeders came as far away as Phoenix, New York and parts of Maine and Vermont.
Besides being absolutely adorable and generally calm animals, alpacas are said to be very smart animals. They often tend to pack together, you know like you expect from alpackas. Okay enough word play. For now. As you can see from the photos below, they do like to be close to each other.
But, I did manage to get a few Alpacas on their own to photograph which was hard to do since they were all packed in there together (I told you I wasn’t done with my word play). There are so many different colors and sizes. Fun facts: the average alpaca can grow to be 150 to 175 pounds! They also have a life span of 15-20 years and can grow to be as tall 3 feet at the shoulders and 4.5 feet tall by the head.
I also liked this “Alpaca photo bomb”
Alpacas are shown and judged (they all received ribbons from to last place) and they are generally calm while they are being shown, except when their personal space is encroached. But, overall they were very graceful.
Some of the alpacas appeared to mouth the metal fencing of their pens. This is not uncommon. In fact, one owner said he keeps baby teething rings for his alpacas and they enjoy using them.
Most of the alpacas were very friendly, albeit a little guarded. But, once they warm up to you, they were very social. In fact, they seemed to pose for me. That is what I noticed most about them. They seem to have a lot of personality.
There were also several people selling many products made from alpaca fleece. They sold a variety of products made from alpaca fleece. They were even selling alpacas made from alpacas (fleece). Being an animal lover, I inquired about the shearing process and I was informed that it is a simple, quick process that does not hurt the animals.
One of the cool things about these cuties is how they communicate to each other in a variety of ways such as through posture, the movement of their tails and some of them even make a noise the owners and breeders call “humming”.