In their native Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, llamas carry heavy loads over terrain which is impassable to motorized vehicles. They are the trucks of the Andes. In America, life is much easier where they have become popular for carrying camping gear on weekend hikes and day trips. Many have found a niche as sheep guards on the open range. Still others, like an RV purchased with good intentions but somehow never used, spend their lives simply munching grass and looking gorgeous and exotic to passers by.
The Llama Fest was originally conceived as an opportunity to highlight Llamas and their owners in the most public way possible: in the overall cultural context of food, music, spinning and weaving demonstrations, music, dance, and competitions between the llamas and their handlers. “If an average attendance of 4,000-5,000 is a public enough event,” says festival coordinator Chris Warden, “then we’ve been successful.