Alpacas and Wine raise money for local animal shelter

By Elizabeth Biernacki, Staff Reporter

Alpacas and Wine brought three fuzzy alpacas to StarView Vineyards for attendees to interact with while they sip on award-winning wine and donate to the local animal shelter, based in Anna, Pets Are Worth Saving.

The alpacas came from Rolling Oaks Alpaca Ranch three miles away from the vineyard. The ranch is managed by Morgan Stevenson, who came up with the idea after hearing about a similar event her friends hosted, she said.

“We thought it would be a really fun event to bring to the community here because, like I said, I learned about it from my other alpaca friends who did it in New York,” Stevenson said.

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Stevenson’s first interaction with StarView Vineyards was when she took the idea of the event to them in June. They agreed to the event since their facilities are so close to each other. 

“I think getting the exposure of people who might not normally come to the vineyard for whatever reason or haven’t made it to the ranch [is important],” Regina Morrison, co-founder of StarView Vineyards, said. “This is just an easy fun event to get [people] out.”

Attendees had the opportunity to interact with Maca, Elon and Sly, three male alpacas Stevenson brings along for events such as this.

Stevenson passed out cups of beetroot for people, so they could have the opportunity to feed and interact with the alpacas even more.

When the event was posted on Facebook, it got a lot of attention. So, Stevenson said she wanted to try and give back to a local charity.

“We [did] a $1 suggested donation for P.A.W.S. because they’re a local animal shelter that’s been in the area for a while, and they’re building a new facility,” Morrison said.

P.A.W.S. is a nonprofit organization. 

Karee Sweitzer, the facility manager for P.A.W.S., said they are always looking for donations since they receive no funding as a nonprofit organization.

The new building is currently going to cost around $400,000 and will feature in indoor play area, runs and more, Sweitzer said.

“I have worked myself silly trying to get people to donate things,” Sweitzer said.

The building is worth a lot more than the $400,000 Sweitzer said. P.A.W.S. is paying, but due to donations and discounted rates, they’re able to transition from an 1100 sq ft lot to a 1700 sq ft lot.

“I think they did a really good job advertising this event and obviously it’s super family-friendly and everything,” Micheal Attaway, a junior studying mechanical engineering at SIU, said.

Attaway said if the event continues to be offered in the future, him and his friends and family would definitely attend again.

Staff reporter Elizabeth Biernacki can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EBiernacki_619.

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