Local farm lives out motto for National Alpaca Farm Day

Grazing Hills Ranch has been around for four generations, hosts event despite rain



Alpacas are out in the rain on Saturday at Grazing Hills Alpaca Ranch.

CAROLYNN CLAREY, Evergreen reporter and photojournalist

On the last weekend of September, alpaca farms all over the country open their doors to the public in celebration of the National Alpaca Farm Day. The Grazing Hills Alpaca Ranch in Viola, Idaho, is no exception.

Even in the rain, families came from all over the Palouse area to see Grazing Hills’ alpacas and learn more about them. Ranch visitor Christina Roberts attended the Farm Day “to do something different.” While she may have only done a quick walkthrough due to the weather, she appreciated the setup of the event, she said.

“[The alpacas] are adorable,” Roberts said.

The ranch owner, Katie DeWinkle, opened the ranch doors in order to embrace their motto: “Experience the farm, the fleece and the fun.”

DeWinkle set up scavenger hunts and demonstrations around the ranch for people to learn about the animals in an engaging way. 

“I love just seeing people come out and being able to feed the animals, and touch the animals, and just experience the farm and just kinda soak it all in,” DeWinkle said.

Beth Anderson, a spinning demonstrator, spun various fibers at the event to show people how to process them, and answered questions about spinning. This was her first time demonstrating at the ranch, she said, and she was surprised by how many people showed up.

In addition to Farm Day, the ranch also holds monthly classes and events. They will be hosting mini photography sessions on Oct. 6 and their annual Grazing Hills Fiber Festival in July. No other future events have been determined yet but they will update their Facebook page.

The Grazing Hills Alpaca Ranch was founded in 1993 by DeWinkle’s grandparents and was purchased by DeWinkle and her husband in 2015.

“My kids make the fourth generation for this farm,” DeWinkle said.