HOPKINTON – The sport of goat racing began 94 years ago on the island of Tobago. Since that time, its popularity has spread across the world. On Sunday, Nov. 3, you can take in a goat race being held right here in Hopkinton.
Jay Gray, who owns Festival Farm in Canonchet, said he got the idea to host such an event from his father.
“He went to Pennsylvania and goat races down there are annual events and they are huge,” Gray said. “He’s been bugging me to do it here so we’re going to try it. If it takes off, we’re going to call it the ‘Festival Farm Great Goat Race’ and we’re hoping to make it an annual event.”
Gray, who founded his rustic farm 11 years ago, said the race will be run in three classes, costumed, obstacle course and agility, as well as a lead line race with the handlers running alongside their goats.
“It’s possible we will also have a freestyle race,” Gray said, “Just the goats running around on their own but we’re not sure yet.”
Anyone is free to show up on race day and enter a goat. “The event is free and open to anybody interested in bringing their goats,” Gray explained. “I’m hoping there are going to be at least a dozen different farmers showing up with as many goats as they are able to bring. We’re expecting all breeds, from tiny African pygmies to larger breeds.”
Festival Farm, located at 2 Canonchet Road, is a popular attraction all year long. The home of horses, mules, donkeys, sheep, rabbits, birds, cats, alpacas, goats and an emu, families come from far and wide to enjoy feeding the animals, riding the pony and going on hayrides through the ambling acres. The farm also maintains its own country store, offering fresh vegetables, eggs, jams, beverages, candy, gifts, seasonal décor and more.
“As always, parking and admission to our farm is free,” Gray said, concerning race day. “However, parking might be limited, so we’re asking that people park along the farm on Route 3.”
Race day will feature refreshments, plenty of fun autumn treats and, of courses, prizes.
“I’m offering cash prizes out of my pocket,” Gray laughed.
The event will begin at 1p.m. and all are invited, whether to enter their goats in the races or to simply relax and watch a sport nearly a century old.