a giant straw Christmas goat

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Here’s a unique Christmas tradition.  Every year in Gavle, Sweden, the city puts up a 43-foot-high goat made of straw, and almost every year it is burned down by vandals.  The straw goat is a centuries-old tradition, and the giant version has been put up annually since 1966.  Only 10 have survived beyond Christmas Day.  Most were burned, although several were beaten down and the 1976 goat was hit by a car.  The vandals are rarely caught, but in 2001 an American was caught and had to spend 18 days in jail.

There’s a webcam setup this year, so you can keep an eye on the giant straw goat.  (If anyone sees it on fire, please post a comment here immediately so we can all check it out.)

This year, authorities have doused the straw goat with flame-resistant chemicals and are sure it cannot be burned.  A spokeswoman for the committee in charge of building the goat said, “It is impossible to burn it to the ground this year.”  The company that provided the fireproof treatment said, “Not even napalm can set fire to the goat now.”

To me, the label “non-flammable” constitutes a challenge…  🙂  I imagine some others feel the same way.  The authorities are just tempting someone to try.

But I won’t be burning it down.  It’s way too far away.  But I do have an alternate plan.  Since I heard of this last year, I’ve thought about how cool it would be to build one here in central Arkansas.  I have a friend who has a couple of unused acres, and it’s just outside of city limits.  It could get really popular, drawing in tourists from around the country.  He could sell nachos and hot dogs and miniature straw goats, and setup bonfires (not too close) for all the guests.  So he’d make money, we’d get kinda famous, and it would be a good time for all.  I don’t see any problems with doing this.  Is anyone with me?

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16 responses »

  1. I think it’d be a great idea….

    After the tradition is established, you could even give some (0r all) to local charity(ies).

    I’d drive to Conway to see it for sure.

  2. Let’s have a competition of who can guess the closest date of when this will be burned down. It is almost guaranteed to happen, with the “tradition” and all the non-flammable-type statements made this year. So enter your guess in the comments here, and the winner will be eligible for lots of fabulous prizes* including a miniature flame-retarded straw goat.

    I guess the 12th of December.

    * Prizes may not exist.

    BTW, I volunteer Mango-Man’s yard for starting our own similar tradition — he’s got enough room, and he could use some money. Let’s also serve burgers while we’re at it. Mmm… burgers and nachos… and we gotta have freshly-made sweet tea. All this in addition to a giant burning straw goat and it’s guaranteed to be a great time. Let’s make it happen!

  3. It would be great if someone could plant some type of remote-control device to ignite the straw goat into flames during the big opening ceremony right after someone says it would be impossible to burn it down this year.

    And a neat way to set it on fire would be to plant some remote-activated smoke bombs and other firecrackers near the rear of the goat, then after it had smoked and popped a while, have the butt of the goat burst into flames.

    Just imagine the expressions on the faces of the onlookers… 🙂

  4. Instead of a straw goat we could make a straw Razorback. Then we could make a pledge to not burn it until the Hogs win a national football championship, that way we ensure it’s survival for all time… ha, ha ha

  5. I picked the name Guava-man, because it sounds just as gay as mango-man and I figured….. why the heck not. What I think would be cooler is to invite orlando bloom to come dressed as the elf from Lord of the Rings. Then on new year’s eve at the stroke of midnight he can shoot a flaming arrow into the goat and set it ablaze. Then once its going we give everyone a thing of Jiffy pop (for a nominal fee of course) and everyone can have freshly popped, popcorn over an open fire. we could write a new song….. Popcorn roasted over a giant burning straw goat…. Mango-man that name is Gay…. People with no life looking at a web-cam all year long… etc.

  6. The word “guava” reminds me of the word “guano”. I realize they’re quite different, in that one is edible and the other is not-so-edible.

    Mango-man can’t help it if that’s what his parents named him… Perhaps he should explain where the name came from…

    I kinda like the idea of mixing unpopped popcorn in the straw goat… it would add a neat sound effect, in addition to creating popcorn.

  7. I think GuanO-man should be relagated to eating POOP-corn 🙂

    as for the name… it’s simple… Apple-Guy was already taken…

    *groan*

  8. Let’s get back to creating a giant straw Christmas goat! Christmas is only a week away, and we still haven’t built one of these things… Don’t y’all realize how cool this would be?

  9. Sadly, our new tradition of building the giant straw Christmas goat did not come to fruition. And the actual one in Sweden didn’t get burned down, either. Some people tried to torch it on December 15, but were unsuccessful. I’m disappointed in their lack of resourcefulness.

    There’s always next year…

  10. Pingback: the Swedish Christmas goat « Buffet o’ Blog

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