By Alicia Dziak

Ever wonder about the rising popularity of alpacas? In addition to being adorable, these animals produce super soft fleece, ideal for turning into everything from gloves to sweaters. During the national Alpaca Farm Days, farm owners from all over the area welcome visitors to explore their farms and learn about these unique creatures.

Visitors are invited to feel the alpaca fleece, tour the farm, experience live demonstrations, learn about raising and breeding alpacas, shop for alpaca products and enjoy a fun day at the farm for the whole family!

Check out Sugartown Alpacas (www.sugartownfarms.com), at 6277 Sugartown Road in Ellicottville, and their selection of socks, hats, gloves, scarves, blankets, teddy bears and more.

A Slice of Heavean Alpacas, (www.asliceofheavenalpacas.com), at 11144 Pope Road in Randolph, has grown to include 32 alpacas. Their Simply Natural Alpaca Gift Shop inludes hats, sweaters, scraves, stuffed animals and more.

Mager Mountain Alpacas (www.magermountainalpacas.com), at 69 Mountain View Drive in Little Valley, will be open Friday 10 a.m to 4 p.m., with a special weekend open house Saturday and Sunday, from10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The open house will feature Pronking Peruvians 4H club showing off their alpaca handling skills on the obstacle course and selling hand-made felted ornaments, bird nesting balls and refreshments. Also, Taylar Made Treats will be selling her famous cup cakes. Lori Krug of Idyllbrook Alpaca Farm will also be giving spinning demonstrations.

Cozy Cabin Alpaca Farm, at 9254 Route 353 in Gowanda, has a new baby alpaca (called a cria) as well as a gift shop that has alpaca clothing such as hats, gloves, scarves, slippers, sweaters and socks.

Woodside Farm Alpacas, www.woodsidefarmalpacas.com, at 12858 Gowanda State Road in Lawtons.

Bear Kat Alpacas (www.bearkatalpacas.com), located at 4685 Route 98 in Humphrey, is not participating in the festivities this year because of a prior commitment, but the welcoming owners are happy to meet with anyone who is interested in stopping by another time. Their gift shop offers a variety of socks, scarves, sweaters and more, and they are happy to special order any items you can’t find at the shop.

Little Valley’s Cardinal Acre Alpacas, another past participant, will also be closed for the weekend.

Be sure to leave time for the annual WNY Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Emery Park’s Ski Lodge in South Wales. Many new vendors, children make-and-take crafts and more await. The Guilds of WNY will be there to demonstrate and answer any questions that you may have. Visit wnyfiberartsfestival.com for more info.

Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather we’re having and spend some time outdoors learning about alpacas this weekend!

For more info about Alpaca Farm Days, visit www.alpacafarmdays.com.