The Sister Bay Advancement Association (SBAA) has announced that the 7th Annual Roofing of the Goats Parade is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th on Hwy 42 in downtown Sister Bay.
Comprised of skittish, short-attention-span, but usually lovable goats from Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant, Door County Creamery and local goat farmers, the 6th Annual Goat Parade has become, after an ignominious beginning in 2013, a welcome start to the new tourism season.
The Parade will start at Mill Rd. and State Highway 42, just down the road from Door County Creamery, and then move further south 1/4 mile to Al Johnson's, where some of the goats will be led up to the restaurant's green sod roof (hence the parade name, "Roofing of the Goats"). Highway 42 is closed to all motorized traffic both immediately before and during the parade, from approximately 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. (Note to parade-watchers: please don't bring otherwise-friendly dogs to the parade, as goats are notoriously terrified of them.)
For various reasons, goats have proliferated in Door County in recent years, but it all started with Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant, which, after a birthday prank between Wink Larson and Al Johnson, famously started putting goats on its renowned green sod roof in 1973. The Creamery now has over 100 milk-producing goats on its Sister Bay dairy farm, while Al Johnson's keeps several dozen goats on a Sister Bay farm, where its goat barn features a live feed of soothing Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasts.
Although attendance along the parade route has doubled every year, weather remains an important element in a successful Goat Parade, The 1st Annual Goat Parade in 2013 featured no goats at all due to inclement weather that included high winds, sleet, snow, and ruined umbrellas. During the 2nd Annual Goat Parade, the weather was beautiful and featured one of Al Johnson's veteran goats, Inky, who was led through the parade route by Rolf Johnson, two local preschool-age girls (Josie Martin and Katja Nelson), and Katja's grandfather, John, who was carrying a wood cut-out of a goat silhouette.
"Goat drop stickers" will be available at Hwy 42 roadside booths throughout Sister Bay for $10 each, and at the Sister Bay Advancement Association (SBAA) office, Al Johnson's, and Husby's Food & Spirits. The goat stickers are a fundraiser for Koinonia Kupboard, a food pantry managed by First Baptist Church of Sister Bay. If a goat poops on your sticker during the parade, you could win one of several prizes. The prize drawing will occur immediately after the parade, at Stabbur Scandinavian Beer Garden.
This year's Goat Parade will be followed by Al Johnson's 4th Annual Goat Fest, at Stabbur Beer Garden, located next door to the restaurant at 10698 N. Bay Shore Drive. Goat Fest starts at 12 noon and will feature live music, fun kids' games, various beverages, special food dishes and a Swedish Pancake-Eating Contest. Other downtown Sister Bay businesses are offering their own festivities and specials.
At the end of the parade, Al Johnson's goats are led up onto the business's green sod roof, inaugurating yet another season of goat-watching in northern Door County. Al's goats can then be viewed all season on the online streaming-video Goat Cam: www.aljohnsons.com/goat-cam.