Tips and ideas for your alpaca farm event
An Alpaca Open Farm Event can be an exciting and profitable venture.
The Open House approach is a great way to get alpaca prospects to your farm as well as support your alpaca lifestyle using lead generation, product sales and agritourism income.
The annual NAFD alpaca open farm days (typically September) is the biggest alpaca farm community outreach of the year, but events can and should be held throughout the year. This page offers general tips and ideas for hosting successful farm events.
Below is a bullet list of ideas and tips leaned from many successful farm events from our experience and shared from many customers over the years. You surely don't have to do them all or even most. This list is for consideration of ideas others have suggested and see what might work for your situation. Hopefully it will spark unique ideas for your event. We hope to add your ideas to this list so feel free to send us some.
Make it easy for your visitors to see you as an ongoing source of alpaca education and unique gifts for family and friends.
Event Tips and Ideas gleaned from many customers and seminars:
Line up volunteers to help!
A successful event needs more than just 2 people. Volunteers can work areas like parking, greeting, touring, education stations, demonstrations, entertainment, cleanup, monitoring and the store. They can put out signage, direct traffic and generally help keep the event clean, safe, relaxed and fun. Give volunteers a Team Alpaca or other alpaca tshirt to help orient the visitors.
What's the incentive to attend your event?
People are desperate to get outside, experience The Real and learn what your alpacas and alpaca lifestyle has to offer! Be ready with a plan, educational activities, follow up... and of course an excellent set of alpaca products to offer your visitors.
- They will come to simply BE with the alpacas, and perhaps get up close
- Lectures and story telling
- Alpaca history, market, funny behaviors,
- The Family nature of the U.S. alpaca business
- Consider a schedule of lecture times
- The naturally clean Eco-Friendly features of the alpaca
- What's so special alpaca alpaca fiber
- Musical solo or group play (harp, guitar, digeridoo) or just music
- 15min Alpaca Yoga/Stretching - fee to instructor
- Paint with the alpacas - fee to instructor
- Bring your party and use our banquet area (picnic table, patio, etc)
- Take an alpaca walk with a haltered alpaca
- Special displays
- Raw fiber, washed fiber, maybe the full sequence to finished product
- Lecture on how small family farms support a national products industry
- See a Knitting/crochet/spinning circle
- Kids games, coloring, puzzles (we have all!)
- Face painting, for a fee
Alpaca Cookie cutter shaped hay/grain "cookie" for sale or a kids station
- Offer cups of feed for sale (income, monitor food intake)
- Make your own Alpaca shaped bird seed ornament (small fee)
- Alpaca clay ornaments to make and paint
- "Go to the gift ship" for an inexpensive small cupcake with Sweet Alpaca Sprinkles on top (and also sell the sprinkles)
- Selfie photo location
- Consider a token requested $ donation to care for the animals (more valuable then FREE)
- Invite other vendors (for a fee perhaps), to make the event more attractive
- Food, drink, wine
- Other gift vendors
- You'll have places to sit down, to get out of the weather, to relax
- Seriously consider the benefit of having a porta potty rented.
- You will have sink/hose for soap and water cleanup
- You'll solve their gift giving dilemma with many great unique gifts to browse!
Promoting Your Event
Tell your mailing list, especially farm prospects. Some will want to volunteer to learn more about life as an alpaca farmer.
Use local free and inexpensive resources:
- The town "rag", often free
- Many local publications, radio and TV stations are desperate for public interest events to cover!
- Fiber guilds
- Local fiber, feed and farm shop flyers
- Chamber of Commerce
- Churches, etc
- Community centers
- FFA, Scouts
- Senior centers
- Street signage a few days before
- Tell and invite your neighbors in advance
During the Event
Stay calm. When you're relaxed, that feeling will carry over to your visitors. Plan ahead to be relaxed and show the Om of alpaca as a key feature of the lifestyle.
- Give your relaxed yet energized volunteers their alpaca tshirt and lots of praise. Plan each persons responsibility and have a way to communicate easily.
Consider farm stations:
- Fiber, husbandry, products, felting, spinning
- Meet the "Earth Friendly Alpaca"
- Activities for kids/adults
- Learn the amazing benefits of alpaca POO!
- Poster - what makes alpaca products so unique
- Have donation jars in various locations
- Photo booth
- Activity stations
- to offset the event costs
- to support the animals
- Give a Team Alpaca sticker as a thank you for donations
- Have sink/hose for soap and water cleanup
Be sure to have plans to get the most out of your event with follow-up tools.
- Get attendees on your EMAIL LIST (phone/text option also useful)
- A nice guest book works well. Have them outdo one another with comments on enjoyable aspects of their visit
- Have a hand out coupon to remind them you have Christmas idea gifts
- Have Christmas decor/lights out in your store, as a reminder
- Contact your list with a Thank you message and what's next info
- Hand written thank you notes to special visitors can be powerful
- Volunteers should get another heaping of praise for their help
- Spend time thinking how to make it smoother and better next time.
The best way to host an alpaca open house is the way that works for your style. Have fun!
Let us know if we can help and tell us your tips!
-Brian & Paula
Choice Alpaca Products