Alpaca Summer Nights

Alpaca in a hayfield

Photo: Ann Dockendorf

Pack a picnic, pet alpacas and play at local farms on Sundays in and around Eugene

BY DAVID OZAB ON AUGUST 5, 2011

Family events with alpacas: August 7, September 11 and 18

Pack a picnic, bring the family, and don’t forget the camera.

Alpaca Breeders Connection (ABC), a consortium of six local alpaca farms, presents “Alpaca Summer Sunday Nights,” family events that are free and open to the public.

The next event will be held on August 7 from 5 – 8 p.m. at Aragon Alpacas located at 33005 Dillard Road about five miles south of Eugene.

Pack a picnic, bring the family, and don’t forget a camera. Alpaca Breeders Connection presents Alpaca Summer Sunday Nights. Ann and Mike Dockendorf of Aragon Alpacas invite everyone to stop by this Sunday and enjoy a relaxing evening watching alpacas be alpacas. Soft drinks, tables and chairs will be provided, or bring a blanket and sit on the grass.

A total of fifty-two alpacas call Aragon Acres their home, along with one female llama who is the self-appointed guardian of the herd. They are quiet, gentle, and curious herd-animals that spend their days grazing in the Dockendorf’s large fenced pasture. At dusk they gather at the 110 year old gambrel barn to dine on hay and mineral-rich pellets, while their babies play and romp in the field.

Two young alpacas

Photo: Ann Dockendorf

“We have five cria, which is a baby alpaca,” explains Ann. “The youngest ones are about six weeks old, the oldest ones are about two-and-a-half to three months old. They nurse until they’re about six months old.”

Alpacas are raised for their light, fluffy fleece, which the Dockendorfs sell along with hand-spun yarn and finished products at their new store on the property.

“It’s called Alpaca Mercantile. We sell everything from fleece right off the animals for people that want to do spinning and crafting, (to) yarn, both hand-spun and made at mini-mills. We also have finished products both hand-made and commercially made from alpacas: sweaters, socks, hats, gloves, that sort of thing.”

And for the younger kids, they feature some of the softest plush animals you’ll find just about anywhere, besides another alpaca ranch.

“We have bears (and) now there’s even some alpaca rabbits.”

You have to feel them to believe how soft they are.

Visitors on Sunday evening will also have the chance to see alpaca fleece spun into wool, and to learn about alpacas from the experts.

“I’m a spinner, so if I’m not busy talking to everybody I plan on having my spinning wheel out,” Ann says. “And other members of the Alpaca Breeders Connection are going to be here to answer questions from people.”

A total of six local alpaca farms teamed up in December, 2009, to form Alpaca Breeders Connection: Alpaca Country, Alpacas at Sweet Hum, Applegate Hills Alpacas, Aragon Alpacas, Bailey Hill Alpacas, and RidgeView Alpacas. Together, they bring the alpaca experience, lifestyle, and fiber products to local events like the Black Sheep Gathering and the Good Earth Home, Garden and Living Show. You can find them at these and other local events selling their products and sharing their alpaca expertise through hands-on and how-to training.

Guitarist Ken Luker will provide the music, while local plein-air artists paint the evening landscape. So join Ann, Mike, and the alpacas this Sunday for an evening of relaxation, wonderment, and time with family. Aragon Alpacas is located on 33005 Dillard Road about five miles south of Eugene.

Group of running alpacas

Photo: Ann Dockendorf

From I-5 South exit toward Highway 58. Turn right onto Mathews Rd (opposite Seavey Loop Rd), then right onto Dillard Access Rd. Proceed about two miles to a stop sign and turn right over the overpass. Left onto Hwy 99, then right on Dillard Rd. Aragon Alpacas is 1.85 miles on the right.

From South Eugene, take Hillyard south to East Amazon Rd, turn left on Dillard Road and drive 3.3 miles. Aragon Alpacas is just beyond the 2-mile marker, on the left.

Visits to the ranch are also available by appointment. Call (541) 912-0782 or contact them via the form on their site.

UPDATE: MyEugene.org ceased operations in May, 2012. The site is down and currently for sale. I have reposted my complete articles on this site. (11/6/2012)

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