VACAVILLE — Penny Smith’s green sock wasn’t a mulberry leaf. But the alpaca didn’t know that, so Penny’s mom, Danielle, swiftly took the sock off the 15-month-old’s foot as the animal approached and Penny squirmed.
The alpaca moved on to be fed by someone else. It got some leaves Sunday from one of the dozens of people holding them during the National Alpaca Farm Days event at Ahh . . . Sweet Alpacas Farm off Allendale Road in rural northeastern Vacaville.
“She wanted to see some animals and she loves them,” Danielle Smith said of Penny. “She’s a little skittish about the food, but she likes petting (alpacas).”
Smith and her husband Nate, who live in Vacaville, were among hundreds of people who visited the farm for the second of two days that it was open to the public.
“They’re cool-looking animals,” Danielle Smith said of the alpacas. “They’re very gentle. Like giraffe horses.”
National Alpaca Farm Days is celebrated across the country to let the public become familiar with their animals.
About 1,000 people came to Ahh . . . Sweet Alpacas Farm over the weekend, according to owner Bruce Nelson. They mingled with the alpacas, watched informational videos, saw fleece spun into yarn and had the opportunity to purchase alpaca goods.
“The main thing is to experience the animals and get close to them,” said Nelson. “People usually notice how curious they are and how little noise they make. It’s just a real soft hum.”
Ahh . . . Sweet Alpacas Farm has more than 40 alpacas – about half belonging to the Nelsons, half belonging to people who board their animals at the farm. There are a handful of alpaca farms in Solano County.
On Sunday, Ahh . . . Sweet Alpacas Farm drew a crowd of visitors who wanted to get close to the soft, furry animals.
“My first job was raising llamas,” said Denise Miller of Vacaville. “These guys are smaller and don’t spit.”
She was there with Ray Ceccanti. They said they liked visiting the farm and supporting local businesses.
Meanwhile, 9-year-old Lily Ward of Fairfield described the alpacas as “little fluff balls with legs who make the cutest noises.” The fourth-grader at B. Gale Wilson School was busy feeding a variety of alpacas, many of whom she gave nicknames to – including “Hungry” and “Latte” – the latter due to a “milk mustache” above its mouth.
Her mother, Tisha Coury, knits and spins the fleece every year during the event.
“We want people to get up close and experience them,” Nelson said.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.