Goats galore at Dutchess Fairgrounds this Saturday

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

If you’ve never been face-to-face with one to gaze into those horizontal irises that make me think of friendly aliens, then you’ve missed out on a weirdly enjoyable experience. Of course, there are goat-lovers who could expound on all the wonders of the creature – goat milk, goat cheese, goat yoghurt and kefir, and a slew of lavish body products made from goat milk, like lotions and soaps – not to forget mentioning the unique personalities of each and every goat. They are funny and fun and decidedly unflappable.

This Saturday, June 16, marks the opportunity to come to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck and discover those wonders. Locally, the 40-year-old Progressive Dairy Goat Club will hold its annual show of more than 150 goats, including eight breeds – Alpine, Nubian, La Mancha, Toggenburg, Oberhasli, Saamen, Nigerian and mixed breeds called “Recorded Grade” – in the judging. In two rings, judges will examine goats one at a time, then switch rings to cover the other half of the breed. The animals are graded on appearance and health, and children exhibiting animals will be judged on their showmanship: how well they handle their goats.

It’s a daylong process, with tension building for handlers young and old. The serious fun starts at 9 a.m. and runs until late afternoon. There will be a raffle table and eats for sale, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own coffee mug for hot coffee all day long. Call the Fairgrounds at (845) 876-4001, or contact Irene Decker at (845) 266-3812 or e-mail deckersmiss@aol.com for more details.

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