Marching through the streets of Cleveland this St. Patrick’s Day, you will find furry alpacas clad in shamrock vests and leprechaun hats. The animals hail from Perrysville, where Kathy and Rob Turk started Gaelic Glen Alpacas in 2010.
“Our tagline is ‘Where Ireland meets Peru,’” says Kathy. “They’re dressed up. We have banners made specifically for the theme. We go all out.” Since their Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade debut in 2017, the alpacas have become a fan favorite. People even arrive early to line up for a meet-and-greet with the beasts before the parade starts.
“People love them because ours are pretty friendly,” says Kathy. “They’ll eat from your hand and the kids get a kick out of it.” While alpacas are not Irish, they are uniquely Ohioan, as the state has one of the largest alpaca populations in the country.
Lookout for the farm’s littlest, Claire, the one-year-old alpaca that Kathy is hoping to get dressed up as a leprechaun to lead the herd down the street.