Alpacas and new barn come to Garrison Arena

By Debbie Dalhouse

AlpacaA new appreciation for the cashmere-like fiber is driving growth in the number of alpaca breeders in the Southeast. Clemson’s T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena held the first annual Palmetto Alpaca Classic in November, attracting more than 50 breeders and 200 alpacas from four states.

The two-day event was sponsored by the Southeastern Alpaca Association and the Alpaca Small Farm Network, and included a show and sales of garments and crafts made from the luxurious fiber. 

The Garrison Arena is one of the premier livestock complexes in the Southeast. It hosts more than 60 events each year, including horse shows for all major breeds, horsemanship clinics, dairy goat and cattle shows, and purebred cattle sales.The arena opened in 1991 and, with generous support from the S.C. General Assembly, the livestock industry and private donors, now offers an indoor arena with seating for 3,000; a covered outdoor arena, a cattle arena and milking parlor, and three barns with 328 permanent stalls. A fourth barn, with an additional 112 stalls, is scheduled to open in January, in time for the busy show season.

“Expanding the capacity to 440 stalls is needed to accommodate the growing number of exhibitors and shows,” said arena director Charles Williams.