Ocean Breeze Alpacas Planning Free Open House Nov. 21-22

Ocean Breeze Alpacas Planning Free Open House Nov. 21-22

BERLIN – Whether you’re looking for some locally made fiber to knit with or just a day of farm fun you’re invited to Ocean Breeze Alpacas’ annual open house.

On Nov. 21 and 22, the Berlin alpaca farm and its Breezy Barn, a shop full of alpaca yarn and handmade gifts, will be open to the public. While the farm will be open for visits both days, which coincides with National Alpaca Farm Days, on Saturday, Nov. 21 a number of festivities are planned, ranging from hay rides to weaving demonstrations.

“We hope everyone can join us Saturday when we have invited various fiber artists demonstrating tatting, knitting and possibly spinning, rug-hooking, weaving and felting,” said Susan Taylor, who runs the farm with her sister-in-law, Nancy.

The farm, which is located on Caleb Road in Berlin, will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, visitors will have the chance to not only meet the Taylors’ alpacas but also enjoy activities like hayrides and face painting. Food will be available to benefit Stevenson United Methodist Church.

Ocean Breeze Alpacas, which can be seen from nearby Route 50, was started four years ago by Susan and Nancy Taylor. The longtime knitting enthusiasts thought it would be fun to have alpaca yarn from their own animals to use for their projects. What started as a herd of seven of the South American animals has now grown to 35. The farm is also home to six mini llamas.

“We’re beginning to experiment with their fibers,” Susan Taylor said, explaining that the llamas came with some equipment they purchased.

The alpacas, however, remain the highlight of the farm. In spite of the herd’s growth during the past few years, the Taylors can still tell you each animal’s name and where he or she came from.

“They all have different personalities,” Susan Taylor said.

The Breezy Barn is a shop that carries fibers sheared from the alpacas on the farm.

The Breezy Barn is a shop that carries fibers sheared from the alpacas on the farm.

This year, they were thrilled to welcome two babies to the farm. The most recent of those, little Merlin, is just three weeks old. Both babies, like the rest of the alpacas, will be sheared in May so they won’t be too hot during the summer. Fibers from this past spring’s shearing are available in the Breezy Barn, the shop created on the second floor of the alpaca barn. In addition to the array of naturally colored yarn created from the alpaca fiber, the shop also features products made from the fiber — such as hats and boot inserts — created by a New England cooperative. Popular products recently have been boot toppers and scarves made from alpaca fiber.

“A lot of people like things made from our animals’ yarn,” Susan Taylor said.

Alpaca yarn, which is said to be lighter and warmer than wool, is valued because it’s hypoallergenic.

“We offer rug yarn and bulky and worsted weight yarns perfect for your next knitting or crocheting project,” Nancy Taylor said. “We also have roving and raw fibers available for spinning.”

The Taylors are hoping the open house will start off the holiday season for them, as the bulk of their business takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the new year, they plan to host a variety of knitting classes.

“This is a way to kick off the holiday season,” Nancy Taylor said. “It’s a chance to visit the farm. Everybody loves the animals.”

Following the open house, Ocean Breeze Alpacas will be open every weekend. For more information visit the farm’s Facebook page or call 410-251-0931.