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Run with the goats: AHI hosts fundraiser 5k featuring furry friends

ARTHURDALE — Arthurdale Heritage is out to get your goat, but in a good way.

On Saturday, the Goat Gallop 5k returns to AHI after being on hiatus for a few years because of, you guessed it, COVID-19.

People can run, walk, or stroll while getting a view of historic Arthurdale and its New Deal homesteads, said Americorps member Claire Tryon. And a chance to see some adorable goats, as well.

“The goats participate in the race with you to a certain extent,” she said. “So they’re led around on leashes. Sometimes the goats get a little bit tired. So they’ll just lay down in the middle of the race, as I think we all want to do when we’re running … a 5k.”

Today is the last day of pre-registration and the cost of the race is $30. It begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, at Arthurdale Heritage. Tryon said same-day registration will be possible. 

All funds raised will be used for historic preservation, Tryon said. The museum is in the process of replacing three roofs, which carries a considerable cost.

The 40-some goats on the property belong to Executive Director Darlene Bolyard. During her interview with The Dominion Post on Tuesday, Bolyard was holding a nine-day-old kid named Omega — likely to become a mascot goat with Monty. Omega was eager to treat every finger or loose bit of clothing like a bottle — even after just finishing one — and get lots of cuddles.

“People are very attracted to goats. Goats are on the same intelligence level as dogs. A friend of mine studied goats at Cornell — she’s a veterinarian,” Bolyard said. “They can learn 180 commands. … In some ways they’re very doglike. They’re very loyal. If you do something to upset them, they don’t forget it.”

Before the pandemic, one woman traveled from California on multiple years to attend the event, because she loved goats, Bolyard said.

The many goats have helped Arthurdale grow and fulfill its mission of teaching history, Bolyard said.

“We first did it to attract families. Our target audience was older. And we needed a way to attract families to come to Arthurdale, because once you get them here, then you can tell them the story because some people aren’t interested in history. … Especially younger children,” Bolyard said. “It’s not real fun and interesting. But you can make it fun. And one of the ways we made it fun was we started integrating the goats in our activities. And now it’s nothing to see at night families down there petting the goats. And it really brought a lot of people to Arthurdale who would never come otherwise.”

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