It took until the seventh annual edition of the event, but Saturday's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Goat Festival was such a huge hit that it already spawned some backlash.
With its popularity launched into the stratosphere with the catchy nickname "Goatchella" (it also happened to fall on the second weekend of the music festival), the Goat Festival drew enormous crowds unlike any they had seen before. Within a half hour of opening, according to SFGate, the line to pet a baby goat had already gotten up to 2 hours.
Although it was never officially rebranded the event as Goatchella, the organizers of the farmers market embraced the meme, even selling t-shirts with the hashtag:
"We"ve never experienced this kind of Facebook virality," CUESA Communications Manager Brie Mazurek told SFGate, while wearing one of the shirts.
Other events included a goat cheese tasting that had sold out, and a cooking demonstration featuring Hog’s Apothecary John Stewart-Streit. Although making goat sausages in the demo, the event's Facebook invite promised "No goats will be harmed at Goat Festival!" Of course that didn't prevent what happened next.
Several protestors Direct Action Everywhere and the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy showed up at the cooking demo and held up signs featuring pictures of young goats and chanted, "For the animals we fight! Exploiting goats is not right!" Although they wound up speaking over each other, the protestors could not stop Stewart-Streit from continuing the cooking demo. Eventually the protestors left without any conflicts.
"It'd be one thing if they were protesting Foster Farms," said one shopper in a Goatchella shirt to SFGate. "But the goats they are using for that sausage are from Marin and live pretty great lives. Those goats live better than us."