Being the Urban Llama, and a general llama enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the chance to do a meet and greet with some real llamas. I had just such an opportunity last Saturday at Scott County Park in Georgetown, KY, for the 12th annual Llama & Alpaca Daze gathering.
Georgetown is only 20 miles up the way from Frankfort, so not too far a venture. We took the boys and baby along for the ride. Like most of these little side adventures, Gabe and Jacy just get in the car, not really grasping what we’re heading to do, but somewhat trusting they will be amused.
We were greeted by a six-foot, black and white llama upon arriving. It was a hot day, and her body had been shaved, but her haunches and neck remained thick with fur. Her handlers brought her outside for a refreshing spray-down with the hose, in hopes of cooling the beast down a tad.
The other llamas, of which there were around 20, were housed in a covered stable area, so there was shade, and the individual farmers had holding pens so their llamas could hang out together.
It was a pretty peaceful scene. Considering the country feel, I found it amusing Frank Sinatra was playing on the stereo inside the stables – very civilized for llamas.
There were drinks, pizza, hot dogs and shaved ice available for purchase.
I saw more money being pumped into the .25 cent gumball machine that dispensed feed for the llamas than was being spent on people food. I was pumping quarters into it as well. Having the llamas eat out of my hand felt funny. It tickled. They’d dig their noses into my palm in an effort to grub out the last bits of seed.
They’re such odd creatures. It’s like they were assembled with discarded parts from forgotten animals. They’re like a mini-furry giraffe from a Dr. Seuss book gone wrong – part camel, part mule, with a certain “je ne sais quoi.”
Sometimes they look majestic, with their dense, rich fur. Other times like a more intelligent poodle, that’s had an unfortunate run-in with a mad barber.
You know, if you’re going to shave most of a critter, why leave some bushy – it’s not like they’re not hot in that area as well.
Regardless, there’s something about llamas that makes me laugh.
Jacy, 7, Maia’s youngest son, was in a foul mood by the time we arrived because someone talked over him in the car, but once he had a llama’s nose rooting around in his palm he was all smiles.
It didn’t hurt having several baby llamas about either. How can you be in a bad mood with a little furry brown llama staring at you with those big eyes?
He looked like a furry duck.
And the momma llamas tend to make this humming noise when around their babies, so I would catch that crazy tune out of the corner of my ear occasionally while walking past the stalls.
The handlers also did a great job of pairing llamas with kids, so they could take the animals for walks. Put a llama on a leash and away you go for a stroll around the stables. Gabe and Jacy both walked llamas, like proud parents, having a chat with them and taking them to see the sights.
There were also demonstrations to observe techniques on shearing, spinning and weaving.
I felt bad for the vendors. There were a couple of people selling hand-crafted fleeces and stocking caps woven from llama and alpaca fur. They appeared to be of a fine quality, but it was 94 degrees. I didn’t want to even look at a winter hat, much less pick up a wool product.
The event was sponsored by the Kentucky Llama Alpaca Association. I had no idea these folks existed until I arrived, but there you go. I have since learned that the Kentucky chapter is the proud host of the 2012 North American Llama & Alpaca Show, coming November 2-4, 2012. This will be the show’s 21st anniversary, and is part of the North American Livestock Exposition, which is the world’s largest purebred livestock show.
The event will be held at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, KY.
Man, that event has to smell funky.
Still, the Urban Llama may have to check out this grand gathering of the purest llamas. I have to stay in touch with my constituency. I wouldn’t want them thinking I’m putting on airs or anything.
If nothing else I bet those alpaca wool hats will look a might more appealing come November than they did this past Memorial Day weekend.
One random travel note, we stopped at a tasty shaved ice stand, that had a tropical theme, I want to say it was called Hawaiian Shaved Ice. If coming from Frankfort, you would go east on 460/Old Georgetown Road, and take a left at the downtown intersection where 460 meets N. Broadway Street/25. It’s down on the right just before reaching Scott County Park. It is cash only, they have lots-o-flavors and is perfect after a hot afternoon of greeting llamas.
In closing I leave you with a quote befitting of our Llama Daze outing:
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” ~ Dr. Seuss