Exhibitions, Fairs, Shows and Markets Diary:
It is two years since we started offering offering some of our product ranges for sale at the Bryanston Organic Market in Johannesburg on Thursdays and Saturdays. This has proved to be a great outlet for us. Run ably by our Johannesburg representative, Clive Mackrill sees a wide cross section of the discerning Sandton public coming to clothe themselves - but more specifically their babies and toddlers - in alpaca! Babies are indulged and grannies love alpaca for their new grandchildren. Come and join us at this long-established and wholly organic market place. Join us under the shady trees in the delightful setting where discerning shoppers shop!
We have jusst celebrated our National Alpaca Day at Helderstroom, an event coordinated by the South African Alpaca Breeders' Society - a day when alpaca breeders around South Africa open their gates to members of the public, as an awareness day. 2015 saw the first National Alpaca Day with numbers of visitors ranging from a dozen or so in the more remotely located farms, to up to 200 and even 400 at others in the Western Cape. This year has been even better, with some of the less easily accessed farms seeing up to 50 visitors.
Our business is hand knitting and hand weaving hand spun fibre. To this end I am so proud to say that for five years in a row our spinning ladies at Helderstroom Alpacas have scooped the top award every year. Brenda Willemse won first prize two years in a row and then Theresa Jansen took the lead and the score became two-all. Then in 2014 our newest lady Maritza entered and won!
HELDERSTROOM ALPACAS' OPEN DAYS
We have held six successive open days at Helderstroom, with up to 30 stallholders enjoying brisk sales under wonderful blue skies.
Open Day stalls
CAPE TOWN WALDORF SCHOOL FAIR
A day in March saw us packing the horsebox once again with all our 'katundu' for a drive over the mountain and another long day in the saddle. Hurdles with which to make a safe boma for the two yearling male alpacas,, trestle tables, spinning wheel, bags full of alpaca knitwear - all to exhibit at the Constantia Waldorf School's annual fair. 4000 visitors filed through the gates and our man Newten with his charges Aero and Cinnamon was like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn as he led the two boys around the fairground with hoards of children streaming after them.
Newten, with Aero (left) and Cinnamon
Pictured below is a scene at Helderstroom Alpacas from a school visit. Children are informed on what an alpaca is, where it comes from, what we do with the fibre, and - best of all - how to cuddle an alpaca!
Rare ALPACA TWINS born at Helderstroom - May, 2009
The birth of live twin girl alpacas caused quite a stir! Firstly all the books say that twins rarely survive, one or both will be born dead, the mother will abort - or some other disaster will occur. So when our vet, having safely delivered a healthy but very small white female 'cria' (baby alpaca), did a post-natal internal examination and pronounced, 'TWINS', we could hardly believe what we were hearing - and then dreaded the consequence.
However, Salt and Pepper both entered the world successfully and although their combined weight represented one underweight 'cria' , they have both gone on to develop into two healthy girls!
We believe Pepper, whose tiny birth weight was only 2.4 kgs, could be a record for a live newborn cria, having gone to full term. Salt at 3.7 kgs was more than a kilogram heavier - but still small.
Taki, their mother, was an inexperienced maiden and since Pepper was not only underweight at birth but weak as well, we began a regime of bottle feeding from the outset. Salt, however, quickly bonded with her mother and has been raised naturally. Pepper, who was bottle-fed to seven months old, has become very much the family pet almost the company mascot since, although she grazes outside by day, she spends her night time in the house alongside three cocker spaniels, cats and ourselves.
Our company logo, which depicts alpaca twins, was designed, unwittingly, by a graphic artist long before Salt and Pepper were even a twinkle in their mother's eye! The twins have been a huge bonus for us, and an attraction for visitors to Helderstroom Alpacas. They are irresistible!
Click here for more images of the twins and Pepper's story