Family Travel 2011

Megan Sexton

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Alpacas anyone? Bishopville farm open house offers chance to see the exotic animals

Posted 9/2/2010 11:06:00 AM

Randall and Monty Gooding have been raising alpacas on their Bishopville farm since 1999.

“I saw a TV commercial with alpacas,” Randall Gooding said. “We had land we weren’t doing anything with. And we wanted to raise an animal we didn’t have to kill to get a product.”

Alpacas fit the bill.

And here’s your chance to spend the day with your family on the farm to learn all about raising the animals. The Emmett Acres Alpaca Farm Open House and Farm Day is set for Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

It’s the seventh year they have opened the farm to let people visit and learn about the animals and their history. (Did you know alpacas were first domesticated by the Incas, going back more than 6,000 years? And Gooding said they are truly docile creatures. “They’re afraid of everything, actually,” Gooding said. “And they are so soft. They are 40 times softer than sheeps’ wool.)

This year’s open house will be a little different from past years. It will be a joint Farm Day with nearby Scape Ore Farms, where Tommy and Jennifer Geddings raise exotic animals.

Admission is free, and you’ll get the chance to learn about all sorts of animals.

Gooding said kids can get close to the alpacas -- and even pet a few. This year there also will be antique tractors and cars on display. Plus there a hot dog vendor selling food and drinks.

Emmett Acres is on more than 19 acres at 74 Gooding Place in Bishopville. The farm is 2.5 miles south of Interstate 20 at exit 116. See www.alpacas-4-u.com for directions and more information.

The open house celebrates National Alpaca Farm Day. If you can’t make it that day, Gooding said visitors are always welcome. Just call or email ahead for an appointment. He’ll be happy to show you around and let you meet his “alpacas with a Southern accent.”