PRESTON — Most Marylanders could count the number of alpacas they’ve seen on one hand — maybe one or two at a petting zoo or a farm.
But for Vickie and Phil Liske, owners of Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm in Preston, tending to their herd of more than 30 alpacas has become a lifestyle.
The couple bought the Eastern Shore farm in mid-2007 and welcomed their first young alpaca just months later to feed Phil’s curiosity about the South American mountain animal.
The young alpaca, named Dream, was pregnant, giving the Liskes two alpacas to love. From then, the farm continued to grow, hosting its first Alpaca Festival in 2008 and becoming home to more alpacas.
Fast forward to 2019, and the farm has nearly 40 alpacas and is hosting its 11th annual Alpaca Festival.
This year’s festival began on Saturday, Sept. 21. and will continue into Sunday, Sept. 22, in Preston.
On Saturday, hundreds of animal lovers gathered at the farm to pet and admire the alpacas. Guests also could enjoy food and games, or enter in a raffle to win an alpaca fur blanket or a stuffed alpaca.
Vickie Liske said she and her husband started the festival as a way to educate people about alpacas and get people as interested in the animal as they are.
Liske said the farm’s festival attracted 150 people its first year and has been attracting more each year since then.
She said she was surprised by the community’s reaction, and it motivated her to keep the festival going and get creative with it.
“We love to share it with the community, and we just want people to acknowledge the alpacas,” she said. “It’s very rewarding.”
Sunday’s festival, hosted at 24480 Pinetown Road, begins at noon and goes until 4 p.m.
The free event will feature shopping, entertainment and the opportunity to meet inquisitive and unique alpacas. See and feel the luxury fiber they produce and learn why the alpaca business is perfect for environmentally conscious individuals.
Guests can look forward to activities such as handcrafted items from arts and craft vendors; fiber and spinning demonstrations; live music; locally made ice cream; pony rides; alpaca fiber products; moon bounce; meeting the farm’s alpacas; and children’s activities.
Outstanding Dreams Farm is at 24480 Pinetown Road in Preston.
For more information, visit http://www.outstand ingdreamsfarm.com/.