Goat Fest fascinates people, animals

Friday, October 10, 2008
Workers put up the tent at the main stage for tonight's Goats, Music and More celebration.

People will still outnumber goats this weekend in Lewisburg where the Sixth Annual Goats, Music and More Festival starts this morning, continues tomorrow and has an unprecedented third day.

And while Grammy Award winner Delbert McClinton is the featured act at 7 tonight, Pat Taylor, one of the festival's goat show gurus, says "A lot of the goat exhibitors we have this time are new to this show, so Lewisburg is getting known."

McClinton may best be known for providing John Lennon a few pointers on playing the harmonica and singing "Standing on Shaky Ground" and "Giving It Up For You."

Those songs and many of the familiar tunes by Elvis Presley and the Beatles will be heard through a sound system brought to Rock Creek Park by the Record Shop in Shelbyville where Randy Saddler has started to feature Yamaha speakers through its subsidiary NEXO. The system was set up with the hlp of product manager Joe Rimstidt of Austin, Tex.

Asked if the sound system could be heard in Columbia, Saddler replied, "Just about."

"When we cranked this up ... the police were here in two minutes," he said. "Fortunately, Mr. Fuller was here."
Eddie Fuller, the city manager, has taken a personal interest in the sound system, in part, because he provides audio services at public events as a hobby.

The city manager has hardly been at his office in recent weeks, but staying abreast of developments of work and worry through a Blackberry telephone with Internet connections and this week he's been monitoring the weather.

With a reference to the so-called tribute act by Shawn Klush who will sing like Elvis Presley at 6 p.m. Saturday, Fuller checked weather reports on his Blackberry.

"There's a weather system developing in Tuplelo, Miss.," Fuller said while looking at his hand-held computer. "It might be Elvis down there stirring up a storm."

Weather this week has been an issue. Public Works Construction Supervisor Bill Curtis was holding a hose on Wednesday to control water being pumped from puddles on the ground near the main stage in Rock Creek Park.

"We probably pumped 500 gallons out of that one hole," Curtis said with a gesture across Old Farmington Road which will be closed for the three-day event.

"That's where a barbecue grill will be," Curtis said.

Richard Finley understands the need. He's helped the Rotary Club organize its barbecue cook-off that's featuring steak, chicken, port, ribs and, of course, goat. The grand champion gets $1,000. Th reserve champ wins $500.

"The winner of the Goat Cook-Off gets a grill from Coble Furniture," Finley said.

"We'll have some of the best cooks in the country here," he said.

Visitors' mouthes are likely to be watering for the flavorful meat, but it's unclear how the nearly 500 goats will react, although their show ring tents, pre-show stalls and prep areas are some distance from the cook-off.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pat Taylor of Rock Bottom Farm was at the goat tents near the Marshall County Library and the Lewisburg Gas offices. She said each show is sanctioned by the various groups established for the several breeds of goats on display. Some are as small as Yorkshire Terriers; Silkies are pet goats.

As for the size of the anticipated crowd, Fuller reluctantly speculated: "If the weather holds like it is, we might see 10-12-thousand, or 14-15-thousand. We don't have any way of counting."

There's no entry fee for visitors, so Fuller simply concludes that there will be "a lot" of people here this weekend.