The farm, owned by Jerry and Liz Bates of Adairsville, has participated in the event for roughly four years now. Jerry said they see it as a chance to educate the public and possibly inspire others to start their own alpaca farms.
“It helps educate people on what alpacas are,” he said. “God made alpacas because they produce a fleece that’s softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, and it’s hypoallergenic so anyone can wear it. It is a very, very, very awesome fabric when it’s spun into yarn or made into any kind of clothing.”
Southern Estates Alpacas will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the event.
The couple got into alpaca farming after attending a National Alpaca Farm Days event themselves several years ago.
“We lived in a swim, tennis and golf community and went to an alpaca farm on National Alpaca Farm weekend, and next thing I know, we were selling our house and buying a farm in Adairsville. Now we take care of 52 alpacas every day, and this is something we are doing toward retirement,” Jerry said.
Jerry added his wife, Liz, retired from her full-time job approximately one month ago and now she is fully involved with the alpacas. She travels to local schools, and homeschools, to talk about alpacas. The couple also travels the country to show off their champion alpacas.
Last year, Jerry said, two other families decided to start their own alpaca farms after visiting Southern Estate. It is one of the benefits of having the event, Jerry believed.
“It gives the public a way to interact with the animals. They’ll eat right out of your hand and they only have bottom teeth — they don’t have top teeth — so they can’t bite you. They don’t have hooves so they can’t kick you and they don’t have horns so they can’t head-butt you. So they’re [a] very safe animal around kids,” Jerry said. “A lot of times most of the people who come out are just absolutely blown away when they sink their hands into one of our alpaca’s fiber and see how soft it is. It is one of the softest things you’ll ever feel, and it is a good way for the public to get educated on the origins of alpacas.”
Last year the Bates hosted more than 300 people at their farm over the two-day event. This year, Jerry said, they were hoping for more.
Southern Estates Alpacas is located at 85 Bailey Road N.W., Adairsville, off Old Highway 41. For more information on the farm, or to contact Jerry and Liz Bates, visit www.sealpacas.com. For more information on National Alpaca Farm Days, visit www.nationalalpacafarmdays.com.