All’s wool that ends well for Hill Crest Alpacas’ first Easter egg hunt

Apr 15, 2019

What do fluffy camelids, painting easels, and the Easter Bunny have in common?

They were all at Hill Crest Alpacas’ first-ever Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning, which saw dozens of families descend on the Old Fall River Road farm to spend a few hours in the sun.

For a $5 entry fee, children were able to feed and pat the farm’s alpacas, paint a “Happy Easter” message, hunt for eggs, dye others, and take photos with the Easter Bunny.

There were also tables selling homemade fudge and — located a good distance away — bags of manure to use as fertilizer in home gardens.

Farm owner Roger Lanouette was surprised at the number of people there.

“It’s quite a turnout, which is kind of unexpected,” he said. “But it’s good.”

His wife Shirley was also happy with the crowds.

“This is the first year [for the event],” she said, adding that once they see how it goes they can make improvements for next year.

Shirley’s the one who decided to get alpacas after seeing an ad for on TV in the early 2000s.

Although the ad she saw talked about alpacas as a good investment, Shirley wasn’t interested in the money — especially considering an alpaca can cost upwards of $25,000 and (if bred) will only have one baby a year.

“So really, for me, it’s not the investment thing,” she explained. “For me, I looked at the animal, and I thought how really cute they were, how laid back.”

One of Shirley’s hobbies is spinning and knitting yarn, so she decided to raise the animals to provide her with material for textiles.

She sells woolen knitwear and other alpaca-related items in the farm shop.

Shirley and Roger got their first group of alpacas — three females — in 2006.

“I don’t regret any of it,” she said, adding that alpacas are great around children. “They have no aggression whatsoever. They’re actually friendlier with kids than they are with adults.”

Eight-year-old Autumn Lucas agreed. “I’m having a good time. I like the alpacas,” she said while feeding one of them. “They’re nice.”

She added, “I haven’t tried the egg painting yet. This is pretty much the only thing I’ve done, except for pictures. So so far this is my favorite. But I may change my mind.”

Alison Gravito was showing her daughter Eleanor (1 ½) around for her first Easter egg hunt.

“She’s loving it,” Gravito said. “I love it. I’ve been here before with her, and she loves the alpacas. She has fun with it.”

Some, however, weren’t so sure about the alpacas.

“It stinks,” said Madelyn Almeida, 4, holding her nose.

“I don’t like them to lick me,” said her sister Emily, 6.

But they still said they liked the animals — although when asked about their favorite part of the day, Emily didn’t beat around the bush.

“The Easter Egg hunt,” she laughed, showing off a basket of eggs.

One thing that nearly everyone agreed on, however, was that next year they’d be back.