Iron Station ranchers, Mike and Shelly Walsh, are taking on a new fete this weekend, as they host their first fall festival.
Good Karma Alpaca Ranch Fall Festival will feature local vendors and artists, full-face painting, pumpkin decorating and livestock, such as horses, llamas and (of course) alpacas; more than 40 of the furry animals will be on the farm during the event.
Businesses and artists are primarily from Lincoln County, but a few from surrounding areas will be present at the free event as well.
One of the biggest attractions of the day Walsh is anticipating, is the one-week-old alpaca who will be available for viewing, along with a Newton-based band — 3 Points of Roguery — who will be performing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A wool-spinning demonstration will also be offered to those who attend, with a farm store on-site filled with items such as alpaca wool — a “luxury fiber” comparable to Cashmere, Walsh said.
The Walshes started their ranch nearly three years ago, and decided to host Saturday’s event in hopes of raising awareness about alpacas, and local art. Prior to raising alpacas, the couple owned horses and goats, and invested years of research before they felt comfortable with starting on their new venture.
Though getting used to caring for a different animal has it challenges, in comparison alpacas are relatively easy to care for, hardy and can be highly profitable, Walsh said, sometimes with fiber selling for up to $50 per pound.
Depending on the success of this weekend’s event, the duo may host another festival next year.
“It’s our first time ever doing anything like this,” Walsh told the Times-News on Wednesday. “It’ll be nice outside, and this festival is a good way to support your local community.”
Though admission is free, donations at certain booths are appreciated. The fall festival will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the ranch, 1041 Brevard Place Road in Iron Station.
For more information, call (704) 649-5849.