Lions club plans fundraiser at SE Iowa alpaca

Ottumwa Courier
By: Mark Newman
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture

Original content from Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — An Iowa Lions Foundation fundraiser will be much different than in past years; a pair of regional members have agreed to open their private alpaca farm for the event.

Apple Blossom Alpaca Ranch in Wayland will open its gates for the fundraiser 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 3, a Saturday. Brian and Marianne Pattyson are the ranch owners. The Lions Foundation is calling the event Alpaca Fall Fest. This region of the Lions has dozens of chapters, including the Agency Lions Club, as well as the Blakesburg, Fremont and Ottumwa Evening Lions Club and the Ottumwa Noon Lions Club.

According to Marianne, alpacas are the gentle relatives of the llama from South America; the Inca's used them as pack animals and for their fiber, she told the Courier. They're distantly related to camels. Upon first glance, in fact, alpacas could be described as looking like a cross between a lamb and a camel.

Mariannne said with their soft feet, the creatures maintain a good grip in the mountains of Peru but don't tear up the pasture. They rarely try to take a chomp out of a human, though they do keep lawns trimmed; according to the ranchers, the alpaca just nibble the top off of the grass rather than rip the blades up and tear the roots.

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