There’s an old Irish festival that crowns a goat king each year.

  • Goat at Puck Fair
Goat at Puck Fair
Credit: Trinity Mirror/ Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

Plenty of small towns have animal mayors, but what about animal monarchs? Killorglin, Ireland, has one: a goat king it crowns in a festival every year. The Puck Fair has been held since at least the 1600s, and many believe it’s considerably older. It’s thought to have originated with the legend of a goat alerting the townsfolk of English raiders led by Oliver Cromwell one fateful day, thereby giving the noble residents of Killorgin enough time to fortify their defenses and save their home from the encroaching Englishmen. (Others believe it’s merely related to pagan symbols and rituals, a rather less fanciful theory.)

The festival is held from August 10 to 12 each year and attracts visitors from near and far hoping to take part in the royal caprine festivities. On day one, known as “the Gathering,” a wild male goat found in the nearby wilderness is crowned for the duration of the festivities by Queen Puck, a young girl from the town. Fair Day follows on day two, with a cattle fair held while King Puck observes from his regal scaffold. It comes to an end, as all good things must, with “the Scattering” on day three, when King Puck is returned to the wilderness and presumably tells his fellow goats the strangest story they’ve ever heard.

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