by Michael Jankus
Rob and Kathy Turk fell in love with these “huggable lawnmowers” at first sight and started Gaelic Glen Alpacas LLC in 2010 to share their newfound lifestyle with everyone.
“People experience a lot of joy with the alpacas,” Rob said. “They’re happy to see them, and they get a chance to pet them, and feed them, and hug on them.”
Gaelic Glen Alpacas is a family farm in Perrysville run by retired Rob and Kathy Turk where they breed and raise Huacaya and Suri alpacas for their wonderful fiber as well as sell them. The couple are also keen to bring them to places like elementary schools and Walkabout Tremont where people can meet an alpaca for the first time and maybe even form an immediate connection, as they did.
“We love to let people experience these magnificent animals,” Rob said.
It was at a fall festival not unlike Walkabout where the pair encountered the lamini and were enamored immediately. They dreamt of a future together with alpacas of their own.
The two gave it a trial run at a farm in Michigan a few years later and found that the life of alpaca farmers suited them, so they set off in search of a place to raise a herd. They said they get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to share their alpacas with people, especially in the city where most people have never had the opportunity to experience their grandeur.
“It’s unique, especially with the children. The first time when they touch them or are able to feed them or hug them — especially when they feed them they are a little nervous, and then the alpaca takes some food from them and they get this infectious laugh, that’s just pretty neat.”
Since 2017, the couple has been attending Walkabout Tremont along with their herd. Kathy recounted the astounding artists and crowds from all walks of life from their past visits. The alpacas are always a hit with the attendees, and one artist took it upon herself to offer up a rendering of them that she had sketched on the spot.
The alpacas are an instant draw from the second they arrive. “People are usually curious as we’re setting it up, and the moment we bring out the alpacas and put them in the pen, we’re busy,” said Rob. He said the fun, family oriented atmosphere and the great crowd have them excited to return.
The folks at Gaelic Glen Alpacas will be at the corner of Professor Ave. and College Ave. on Friday’s Walkabout, and Kathy also teased that the alpacas have been known to come dressed for the occasion.
October’s Walkabout begins at 5 p.m. on the 8th and boasts food, drink, shopping, and live music from Baker’s Basement and Reverbious in addition to the majestic Gaelic Glen Alpacas, making for a spectacular evening.