The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Sly Fox goat races set for Cinco De Mayo


By Frank Otto, fotto@journalregister.com

Friday, May 3, 2013

PHOENIXVILLE — Instead of celebrating with tequila, thousands of area residents expect to celebrate this Cinco De Mayo drinking bock-style beer and watching goats race along a concrete parking lot.
Sly Fox Brewery’s annual Bock Fest and accompanying goat race falls on May 5 this year. Celebrated in its customary spot at the Maple Lawn Shopping Center at 520 Kimberton Road, this year’s race could mark the very first three-peat in the event’s history.
“Peggy might get the trifecta,” said Sly Fox manager Raija Madsen.
A three-legged goat, Peggy is a crowd-favorite and narrowly won her second Sly Fox crown last year in a field that included about 60 goats and multiple heats, all of which spanned a few hours.
This year, however, there’s rumblings that Peggy will have a tripedal adversary.
“There’s another three-legged goat that registered,” Madsen said. “That’ll be a big challenge, maybe have two goats (like that) winning.”
Crowds huddle around the side of the parking lot where the goats run a distance roughly equivalent to the space between home plate and first base on a baseball field.
Some goats willingly run with their “coaches” while others obstinately stand back and either force their owners to carry them, or as one woman tried last year, coax them forward through dance.
“It’s been strange and obscure but it’s really fun,” said Madsen, who confirmed about 40 goats are already signed up.
Beyond the goat racing, the Bock Fest carries a block party atmosphere with a German flair.
Emil Schanta and his ooompah band will return again and Madsen said, because the weather is likely to be so nice this year, Sly Fox is getting extra sausage and drinks ready.
“I don’t think it will be a surprise,” if more show up than the 5,000 estimated last year, Madsen said.
An effort is also made to make the event family-friendly. Face-painting and other kid-friendly activities are also typically available.
Additionally, Sly Fox is making more strides to making Bock Fest green, utilizing biodegradable eating utensils and a water station instead of selling bottled waters. An extra effort is made into recycling, too.
“This is a signature event for Phoenixville,” Madsen said.
Bock Fest is scheduled to start around 11 a.m. this year and continue until 6 p.m.
Free shuttle service is available for those parking at the Kimberton Fairgrounds.
Read about reporter Frank Otto’s experience with the goat races last year at his blog, The Importance of Being Frank.
Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.