A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 3, 2019

Behind the Scenes at Open Farm Day – Part One

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 2:15 am

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Shortly after we moved to the farm in 2000, we opened our gates to invite people in for our Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas. Since then, Open Farm Day had been enjoyed by many visitors. It has also been through a bit of an evolution.

I thought people might enjoy learning about that evolution and what it takes to put on our monthly event.

When we first started Open Farm Day, our purpose was to let people know Windrush Alpacas existed and to help educate people about alpacas.

In 2000 alpacas were not as well-known as they are now, and many people were confused as to what exactly we were raising. We often got asked about our llamas. Or our emus! We even had someone call us about a wandering emu to tell us that one of our animals had got out.  (We did try to capture the emu but when it charged us, we decided to let it be!).

So, we decided it would be a good idea to invite the public to the farm so people could meet the alpacas and us, and to learn about what we were doing.

At the time both Ric and I were working full-time jobs off the farm. We decided to hold an Open Farm Day once a quarter would work with our schedules. Our first Open Farm Day was in 2003 and had about six attendees. A big difference from the 100 – 200 attendees we often have at our current Open Farm Days!

As time progressed interest in the farm grew.  Additionally, I decided that in order to make our alpaca business succeed it would be best if I left my full-time job and focused my time and energy on the farm.  That was a bit of a scary leap to take as it meant our income was dramatically reduced, but I felt it was worth the risk.

With more time to focus on the farm, it became apparent to me that it would be more appealing to people to have greater access to the farm on a regular basis. So we decided that Open Farm Day would become a regular event and our current monthly Open Farm Day format was born.

For sixteen years we have consistently held Open Farm Day on the 2nd Saturday of the month – except for July and August when it is just too hot.

It has taken a lot of time and effort to get the word out about Open Farm Day.  Print ads in the local paper, entries on local business calendars, mentions on the radio, flyers in local businesses, word of mouth from visitors, family, and friends. As the popularity of the Internet and Social Media rose those resources were very helpful in spreading the word.

It’s hard to believe that we have hosted nearly 160 Open Farm Day events! It certainly doesn’t seem that long. Our reward each month is seeing the faces filled with happiness and joy as our visitors interact with our alpacas.

Next month – How we make Open Farm Day happen!

 

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