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Shear Fun

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If the Green Acres theme pipes into your brain unbidden, so be it. Three years ago, Cathy and Bucky Stauffer ditched Bartlett for Coldwater, Mississippi. Their aim was to head for the country for a simpler life but one that provided for their golden years. Cathy, who still works as a teacher, and Bucky, who works at one of the casinos in Tunica, decided to raise alpacas. They started with three and now they have eight alpacas, which they breed and shear for income.

On Saturday, they're hosting the first Coldwater Fiber Festival & Shearing, though Cathy says it's the first in name only. They've held similar events in the fall to mark National Alpaca Day and in the spring for shearing season. Saturday's event will include rug-hooking and weaving demonstrations (there will be a weave for kids), but a big draw is just seeing the process: a big, fat-looking, fuzzy alpaca shaved — bzz, bzz, bzz — to the reveal the skinny animal.

According to Cathy, the alpacas are spitters but child-friendly, and what's more, they provide a bit of calm: "I'm surprised at how relaxing it can be. I go out to the field and see the frost on their backs. It's a manger setting."

Coldwater Fiber Festival & Shearing, Saturday, April 18th, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Coldwater Alpaca Ranch, 1812 Old Memphis/Oxford Road, Coldwater, Mississippi.

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