“Sold out this year,” Washington County Fairgrounds play host to Wisconsin Alpaca and Fiber Fest

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WEST BEND (WITI) -- On the softer side, the second annual "Wisconsin Alpaca and Fiber Fest" was held Sunday, April 26th in Washington County. Throughout the weekend, alpacas were on display and visitors had the opportunity to purchase fleece and learn how to spin alpaca fiber.

Organizers combined the Madison and Neenah shows into one -- held this weekend at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

"It just didn`t make economic sense to have two competing shows," Erin Egan said.

Breeders brought their best alpacas -- hoping for top honors.

"You can see how bright that is. How dark black that is. You can see the crimp and the staple length about three or four inches," Pam Warriner said.

That fleece won Warriner's alpaca "Kieran" second place at this year's competition.

"Very proud of him. He's awesome!" Warriner said.

Pam and Colton Warriner take care of Kieran at their farm in Cascade, Wisconsin. Folks came from all over for this weekend's event in Washington County -- some from as far away as Texas and Oregon.

"Our climate is well suited for alpacas. They have so much fleece on them. They`re so well-insulated. They`re happy. They're actually happier outside in the cold," Egan said.

Each alpaca is sheered in the spring to remove the animal's dense fleece so they're not too hot during the summer. The fiber is then used to make yarn.

"Alpaca is nice because it`s really soft and drippy but it`s harder to spin," 4-H member Bethany Kottwiz said.

Kottwiz has spun wool for six years.

"It is very relaxing. I watch movies all the time when I`m spinning," Kottwiz said.

This year's Wisconsin Alpaca and Fiber Fest was the biggest yet -- with 360 animals taking part.

"It grew a lot. We actually sold out this year, which was very exciting!" Egan said.

The champion alpacas for this year are "Snowmass Heroes of Time" from Applewood Lane Alpacas in Wittenberg and "Hillary Clinton" from London Dairy Alpacas in Two Rivers.

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