At first glance, the Bock Fest in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, looks like your typical beer festival. Put on by Sly Fox Brewing Company, there will be plenty of beer, lots of food, and German oompah music.
But on closer inspection, the Bock Fest is so much more than drinks and food. There’s that secondary activity: the goat races.
That’s correct. Right in the middle of the Bock Fest on May 1, crowds will head to an open field to watch dozens of goats race for the title of Bock Fest champion.
Just how serious the goat racing is can be answered with a glance at the festival’s website. Front and center is a hall of fame featuring every past goat champion, from George in 2000 all the way up to Princess Jenny in 2019.
The last two years are vacant, with the coronavirus pandemic wiping out the competition.
But it’s back in 2022. And to get a head start on what’s to come, each of the goats entered has a small profile on the website.
There’s Muriel, the 51-pound Nigerian Dwarf. The 14-month-old loves blueberries, is known for her loud mouth, and her superpower is untying shoes.
There’s Ms. Moogoo, a 4-year-old unknown breed checking in at 85 pounds. Ms. Moogoo is known for knocking over everything, with a superpower of irritating you.
How about Alby, a 50-pound Nigerian Dwarf Cross? The 4-year-old’s favorite food is cardboard boxes, and she’s known for not listening.
A maximum of 66 goats are allowed in the races, featuring animals mostly from eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They are pre-registered to run, meaning you can’t just show up with a goat and hope to get in the competition.
Races begin at 2 p.m. and usually last about 90 minutes before a champion is crowned. The races are broadcast on a Jumbotron at the festival.
And for the winner, besides a spot in the hall of fame?
“The day marks the release of the Maibock which is tapped immediately after the goat race and named in honor of the winning goat,” organizers said.
Ticket prices for the event range from $20 for those 16 to 21 up to $100 for a VIP ticket. Different levels get visitors different amounts of food and drink, with all ticket holders allowed into the goat races.
By using tickets, organizers hope to limit and space the crowds with the world still battling the pandemic.
“We want to limit overcrowding to provide the best experience possible for those who love this event,” said brewery president Peter Giannopoulos. “It’s a really fun but complex day and still a dubious time to host massive crowds. We want to ensure the Bock Fest and Goat Race is sustainable for many years to come.”
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