EAST PIKELAND — A legend may return and a young competitor could prove he’s no flash-in-the-pan.
For the 15th year, goats will race as part of the Sly Fox Bockfest for the honor of having this year’s special Maibock named in their honor.
Despite hints at retirement by her coaches last year, Peggy, the first three-legged goat to win the annual race — which she did in both 2011 and 2012 — is rumored to be returning for a fourth go-round and a chance to unseat training-partner and 2013 champion Simon.
“Last year, we crossed over the 10,000 people mark,” Sly Fox Beer Manager Jeff Tancini said of the festival held in the Maple Lawn Shopping Center parking lot. “We think we’ll hit 12 to 13,000 people this year.”
That would be a record crowd cheering on as Simon, a three-legger like Peggy, attempts to follow-up last year’s success.
Although the festival always has a German tinge due to its celebration of bock-style beers, there’s also a side-theme.
Since last year’s festival landed on May 5, the festival had a Cinco De Mayo flavor.
This year, with the event scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4th, Star Wars is the side-theme.
“Since it’s May the 4th, it’s ‘May the 4th be with you,’” Tancini said. “It’s carrying through all our T-shirts, our mugs have the goat head with stormtrooper helmet, (and) the kids shirts have Ewoks riding the goats.”
Star Wars or not, Emil Schanta and his band will return with their German beer hall brand of music, Tancini said.
One of the reasons why Tancini expects growth is a new shuttle.
A shuttle bus has regularly operated out of the Kimberton Fairgrounds for the festival, but the new loop will head to and from downtown Phoenixville.
“We have very good relationships with the bars downtown as far as carrying our beer,” Tancini said. “We like to pay it forward to afterwards have people go downtown.”
The shuttle to downtown Phoenixville has stops at the intersections of Hall and Main streets and Main and Bridge streets. It will operate from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tancini said, like every year, there’s “a ton of excitement, a ton of anxiety” leading up to the event.
“There’s always that scary chance of rain, but we’re always excited, pumped for the event,” he said. “Every year, as we’re cleaning up, we go, ‘365 days, let’s go.’ We’re always planning, always excited.”
More than anything, Tancini said his favorite part of the festival is seeing the transformation of the place he works every day.
“It’s a whole different world here,” he said. “We have very good customers that allow us to have this event here. Nobody gets too wild or too crazy. They have a fun time.”