Last October, I “goat” the pleasure of making the pretty drive to Perryville and attending the Arkansas Goat Festival in First Electric Cooperative’s service territory.
One of the state’s most feel-good fall events, the Goat Festival — pandemics notwithstanding — is held the first Saturday in October (October 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this year). It takes place at the Perryville City Park, home of “the country’s first Goat Park,” which boasts a wooden “play structure suitable for kids of all species.”
Everyone truly is a “kid” at heart at the Goat Festival, where highlights include a Goat Au Naturel Parade, Goat Costume Contest, Goat Costume Parade and even a Goat Lingerie Show (Nannies at Night). It’s not just the goats who get gussied up; owners — like the gentleman last year who matched his goat’s grass hula skirt, flower lei and coconut bra top — get in the spirit, too.
In addition to crafts, jewelry and clothes, vendors sell goat milk soap, lotions and lip balms for the two-legged attendees and “goatloads” of bells, harnesses and hoof trimmers for their four-legged friends. Expect food trucks, including Loblolly Creamery, which will scoop out Razzy Goat, a goat cheese and raspberry ice cream, inspired by the festival.
As cute, furry creatures — especially those costumed as unicorns, bumblebees and hippies — tend to relax people, everyone was willing to stop and banter or bleat. Two goats I enjoyed meeting were Valentine and Ziptie. They attended with their people, Laura and John Carpenter of Dardanelle, who love and rescue all kinds of animals.
Valentine and Ziptie hold a special place in the couple’s hearts — and home.
“Both live in our house; these are my actual animals-animals — they don’t live outside!” Laura said, explaining that Valentine, now a registered Emotional Support Animal, brought her out of depression following surgery years ago.
A trip to the Goat Festival was just another day out for the well-traveled Valentine.
“He goes everywhere with me,” Laura said. “We go to Atwoods. We go to Lowe’s — everyone knows him at Lowe’s.”
In addition to the Arkansas Goat Festival, a bounty of autumn activities awaits. There’s Parker Homestead’s Fall Festival near Harrisburg . There’s the King Biscuit Blues Festival. For a lengthy list of October happenings — including the Arkansas State Fair, sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas — see our Calendar. Also, don’t miss our list of pumpkin patches.
Have an “unforgoatable” October!
Jennifer Christman Cia