Life looked a little different thirty years ago. Movies such as Home Alone and Dances with Wolves ran the box office, while the tunes of Garth Brooks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers filled radio stations. 1990 was a time of high-waisted jeans, Rachel Green haircuts, and light up sneakers. It was also the year of the first U.S. national alpaca show, taking place in sunny Grass Valley, California, on June 2 and 3. Since then, Alpaca Owners Association, Inc. (AOA) has worked diligently to create and implement a show system to promote the alpaca industry in North America and beyond.
This year I have the honor of planning AOA’s 30th Anniversary National Alpaca Show, sponsored by Fun in the Country Alpacas. While I have experience in planning campus-wide events at my alma mater, they pale in comparison to a show of this caliber. I am quickly learning that there are many details that go into putting together any alpaca show, such as selecting a show staff, finalizing contracts, deciding what to eat for dinner, stall layout, and much more. However, in the four months since I began working at AOA, much has already been accomplished. We are excited to be bringing the show back to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in March of 2020. During a site visit to the venue in August, I was able to grasp a better understanding of the setup and am very excited to be utilizing a space as large and accommodating as the Coliseum. The Coliseum staff also reminded us of the great public support we received when the show was hosted in Fort Wayne in 2016. Between the appeal of meeting a variety of alpacas and the Coliseum’s own marketing efforts, we were able to draw in over 13,000 attendees from the public. We hope to exceed that number in 2020!
AOA will also be hosting its annual Meet & Greet reception at the Coliseum on Friday evening from 5:30–7:00 p.m. To honor the decade in which the first U.S. alpaca show was held, this year’s Meet & Greet theme will be 90’s Nostalgia. So, dig through your closet and find your best throwback outfit to the 1990’s and get ready to enjoy festive decorations and classic 90’s music. The reception will be a great chance for members to chat and catch-up with friends, and maybe even do some reminiscing of the past 30 years of alpaca shows. There will be complimentary hors d'oeuvres as well as a cash bar.
After a busy day in the show ring on Saturday, AOA will host its annual Banquet and Live Auction at the host hotel, Holiday Inn at Purdue Fort Wayne, right across from the venue. There will be a cocktail hour from 5:30–6:30 p.m. with live music and complimentary beer and wine. The cocktail hour will be followed by a buffet dinner and a cash bar, with the live auction beginning shortly after. Tickets are required to attend the banquet, and can be purchased during registration. The auction is one of AOA’s largest fundraisers for the year, and we hope to accumulate a wide range of items for purchase. All of the money raised goes back into the association and helps provide all of the services we offer our members. If you have an item (of any value) that you would be willing to donate — potentially a weekend stay in a vacation home, tickets for a sporting event, signed memorabilia, etc., — please visit the Nationals website and fill out the donation form. We appreciate any and all support to make this auction successful.
Early Bird registration for the National Show will open up on January 3 and run until February 10. General registration will end on February 24, and vendor registration will be open until February 17. You can also browse through our various sponsorship opportunities and benefits, before or during registration. Booking for rooms at the Holiday Inn at Purdue Fort Wayne is currently open, but be sure to book before February 12, as that is the last day we can guarantee our group room rate. To book your room or for more information you can visit the Nationals website at www.AlpacaNationals.com. If you have any questions feel free to contact me online or call (402) 437-8484. I look forward to seeing you in Fort Wayne!
Event and Member Services Coordinator