Sister Bay goat parade celebrates area tradition


    Goats walk down the street in Sister Bay. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

    SISTER BAY (WLUK) -- The streets of Sister Bay have gone to the goats, literally.

    An annual tradition is being celebrated in a somewhat different way.

    If you've driven by Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, you've probably seen the goats on the grass-covered roof.

    The goats have been there for decades, but now, their summer arrival is being celebrated, with a parade.

    With a simple thumbs up, the fourth annual Sister Bay Goat Parade, was underway.

    "Every year, it's been more goats. and the herd gets a little larger, our herd gets a little bit larger. Goat herders, and goat farmers in the immediate area bring their goats and we march them down Main Street, to the roof," said Rolf Johnson, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant and Butik.

    In all, about two dozen goats made the two block trek to Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant.

    "We just wanted to see. We came up here to Al Johnson's several times, and we just wanted to watch them bring in the goats," said Kevin Hoyland, Iowa City, Iowa.

    Hundreds looked on as the procession paused.

    "The goat parade was awesome. What was cool about it? Well of course, seeing the goats. We brought the whole family out. So that was wonderful," said George Jumes, Appleton.

    The small herd was led up the back steps to the grass-covered roof.

    "These have been on the roof, and will spend the summer on the roof. But they're only there weather permitting. If it's too warm, or if it's raining, the goats are never on the roof. It's usually the first six that want to go every morning. And they fight to go, believe me. They want to go to the roof," said Johnson.

    "Quite interesting. Just not something we normally see in Sarasota, Florida, we just came from. It's quite cool though," said Michael Mrazik, Sarasota, Florida.

    And new this year, Goat Fest opened in a Swedish beer garden next door, complete with music, food, and more.

    "We moved an authentic Scandinavian building onto the site," said Johnson.

    It was a day to celebrate all things goat.

    "I think anytime you can bring people together with animals, it's incredibly therapeutic, first and foremost. But it's also fun. And that's what it's all about," said Johnson.

    The goats have been a tourist attraction on Al Johnson's roof since 1973.

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