While llamas still are considered by many an exotic animal found primarily in zoos, Estes Park is a prime gathering area for the sure-footed creatures June 12 and 13. That's when this mountain community hosts the largest fiber festival in the West.
There will be more than llamas. Specialty breeds of goats, rabbits and sheep also will be seen, shorn and judged during the two-day free affair at the Fairgrounds at Estes Park. The weekend is filled with exhibits, demonstrations, competitions and vendor booths. The event is free and open to the public on Saturday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sheep dog herding demonstrations and sheep shearing demonstrations are held four times a day throughout the weekend. An announcer will provide play-by-play explanations of the many herding and sheep shearing techniques used by these animals and their handlers.
One of the most popular attractions is the Children's Tent, where visitors, young and old, are invited to try their hands at rope weaving, spinning and loom weaving. Weavers and spinners will be on hand to teach basics and give visitors a chance to try the techniques for themselves.
Sheep, llama, alpaca, cashmere & angora goat competitions, as well as fleece contests are held throughout the weekend. For the shoppers, more than 50 vendor booths will be filled with fleeces, raw fibers, novelty knitting and crocheting yarns, as well as finished coats, scarves, hats, shawls, and fiber-processing equipment.
The weekend's activities are held at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Community Drive. There is no admission charge to attend the Wool Market.
For information about the festival, contact the Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau at 970-577-9900 or visit www.EstesParkCVB.com.