A festival underway in northern Iowa this weekend focuses on a distant relative of the camel. The 7th annual Midwest Alpaca Jamboree is being held at the North Iowa Fairgrounds in Mason City. Doctor Bill Hedberg of Hampton is one of the sponsors and says they expect thousands of visitors and around 300 alpacas. They’ll be judged in the show ring based on several categories while just the shorn fleeces will also be on display and judged. Vendors will be selling all sorts of alpaca related goods, including sweaters. Hedberg says the alpaca industry has caught on in the Midwest. People doing business with the official Alpaca Registry has more than doubled in the past three years. Hedberg says judges at the weekend jamboree will examine several things when looking at an alpaca’s fleece. Categories include: the fineness and feel of the fleece, the prickle-factor, density, yield and uniformity of color. Hedberg says anyone is welcome to attend the sessions at the North Iowa Fairgrounds. For more information, you can refer to the jamboree’s website at “www.alpacajamboree.com”.