By Jennifer Christman Cia
Category: Editor's Welcome

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.

John and Laura Carpenter of Dardanelle with their goats Ziptie and Valentine at the 2022 Arkansas Goat Festival.

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

Email Jennifer