Goatfest planning heats up

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nigerian Dwarf goats are being shown at the Goats Music and More festival for the first time this year. At their planning meeting last week, the GMM organizing committee got acquainted with Suzy Way of Nolensville, who will be one of the judges for that show.

Way was very optimistic about adding the Southern Middle Tennessee Nigerian Dwarf Goat Show to the GMM festival, and even envisions Lewisburg as the site for a national NDG show sometime in the future.

"It's not easy to find venues willing to take on a national event," Way said, praising Lewisburg's convenient location, which is within a day's drive of many NDG breeders' farms.

The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature dairy goat breed that originated in West Africa, with the biggest buck standing only two feet high at the shoulder. The does can give up to two quarts of milk a day, and it is higher in butterfat than most goat milk. Some people keep these little goats as members of a dairy herd, but many keep them as companions since they are gentle and playful. They are eligible to be youth 4-H or FFA project animals.

As well as being a livestock judge and goat breeder, Way is also an artist - check out her Web site at www.thewaygallery.com.

The GMM committee also discussed adding "stick goat" races for the children to the festival program, and looked at samples of souvenir items that might be sold.

"I think we need to go green," said Beth Leftwich, displaying tote bags made of recycled jute. She also showed the group coffee mugs, plastic tumblers, lapel pins, and the ever-popular tie-dyed tee shirts. All items will have the GMM logo, and can be sold at a reasonable profit.

"Just give me a budget," Leftwich concluded.

Greg Lowe reported on advertising packages offered by Channel 5 in Nashville.

"It's something we're considering," he said. It represents a chance to reach about a million people an average of three times each, if GMM gets a spot on Talk of the Town, mentions on Traffic & Weather, and a banner on the Channel 5 Web site. Lowe admitted that television advertising was expensive and said, "According to some of the county commissioners we spent too much on advertising last year."

One of the attractions of GMM, of course, is that admission is free, even for the top-class musical performances Friday and Saturday evenings.

There are 20 food vendors on a waiting list for booths at the festival.

"That shows we aren't charging enough," exclaimed Lewisburg City Manager Eddie Fuller.

The question of locating an Automatic Teller Machine at the Rock Creek Park was mentioned again.

"People would spend more money if they could get to an ATM," said Lowe, though he acknowledged that there were banks within walking distance on the square and on the bypass.

The 7th Annual Goats Music and More Festival is less than three months away now, and anticipation is building for another great weekend of fun, food, music, and shopping, with some serious goat shows thrown in as well.