What happens when you combine goats, obstacle courses, races, contests, and a passion to help animals? A family-friendly event that’s like no other in the world.

New Moon Goat Farm’s Goatalympics, now in its sixth year, is the sanctuary’s biggest annual fundraiser – it’s not-to-be-missed! Ellen Felsenthal, who founded New Moon Goat Farm in 1999, didn’t set out to create a world-class goat sanctuary, but when she saw that goats throughout Washington State continuously fell through the cracks of the animal rescue system, she created an oasis for these funny, happy animals.

“I initially got a farm so I could get a horse,” she said with a laugh. “I’d been involved in cat, dog, and horse rescue for many years, but when a goat needed help, no one would help them. Goats kept on popping up that no one would take. They’d end up at the auction. So I stepped away from cats, dogs, and horses and focused on goats.”

The result has been nothing short of phenomenal. “This year, we’ll hit our 1500th adoption,” Ellen said. Ellen shares her life with three horses – a paint mare, a PMU mare, and a percheron – and many, many rescued goats.

New Moon Goat Farm is 100% volunteer-run and has a nine-member working board of directors. “Most of the main positions are performed by board members,” Ellen explained. “Then we have a team of volunteers who come out weekly or monthly. They do hoof trimming and other maintenance. We have between 35-40 people involved in the rescue.”

The annual Goatalympics was Ellen’s brainchild; in its first year, the event had 30 participants and 100 spectators, raising $4,000. By last year, the event saw more than 50 participants and 450 spectators and raised $8,000; 2016 looks to be their best year yet.

Participants range in age from four to 65, and spectators can spend the day laughing as they watch goats and their people vie for ribbons, victories, and all-important bragging rights.

“We wanted to create a place where people who love their goats as much as most people love their dogs could have fun,” Ellen said. “Our contests include best trick, most spots, and longest beard, and you can vote in the People’s Choice Awards for Adult and Youth costume contests.”

In addition to contests and games, the event also features food trucks, a silent auction, and a giant raffle. Several photographers will also be on-site to document the fun from every angle. And new for this year, there will be several contests for children without goats. “We want everyone to participate!” Ellen said.

Families come from across the state to watch and participate. According to Ellen, one family comes from Eatonville each year; others come from Linden and Enumclaw.

“It’s super fun and it’s free – it costs people to enter the contests, but as a spectator, it’s free,” Ellen said. “This helps us contrast the old image of goats tied to a post with a tin can. It’s a cool opportunity to interact with goats outside of a petting zoo.”

This year’s Goatalympics takes place on Saturday, July 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, located at 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe, WA, 98272. For more information, call Ellen Felsenthal at (844) 438-4628, extension 5, or email her at info@goatalympics.org.

New Moon Goat Farm is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has taken in, rehabilitated, and found loving homes for more than 1,4000 goats. The organization has taken in animals from as far away as California and Idaho and ensures that all of the animals in its care are seen by a veterinarian and receive any necessary medical care before they are placed for adoption. New Moon Goat Farm also promotes compassion and respect for all living beings. To learn more, visit their website at www.newmoonfarm.org.