Bored this Weekend? Check Out the Goats at South Side Park

It’s not every day you get to watch goats eat invasive plants in Pittsburgh.


Pittsburgh has many quirks that make the city iconic. From Picklesburgh and Pierogi Festival to french fries on salads and parking chairs — these cultural norms are Pittsburgh staples. However, there are many lesser-known tidbits that add to the city’s quirky culture, like Goat Fest. 

Goats? In Pittsburgh? Yes, you read that right. 

Friends of South Side Park volunteers organize Goat Fest to celebrate the 65-acre park — which encompasses the South Side Slopes, the South Side Flats and Arlington — and share their love of the park with the community. The event also raises funds for the ecological restoration effort underway while also providing Pittsburghers an opportunity to watch invasive-plant-eating goats in action. 

The goats will be eating invasive vines and other plants that prevent healthy trees from growing in the park. This will allow for the space to reforest, prevent soil erosion and reduce stormwater runoff. 

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m.on Sunday, July 30. at the Arlington Ball Field. Parking is at 21st Street and Josephine with a free shuttle to the entrance at 2000 Julia Street. It is free and open to the public; however, donations are suggested to help fund the project. 

Donations are in the form of purchasing adopt-a-tree and EScape Goat tickets online. It is a suggested $25 per group/family donation to support the volunteer-led South Side Park reforestation.

Adopt-a-tree has multiple facets. First, the tree-planting experience allows people to learn about the activity and ecological restoration while getting your hands dirty. Second, the bonsai tree kit or make-and-take allows people to create their own mini bonsai landscape. Lastly, adopt-a-tree allows people to customize a metal tag to put on a fence surrounding a new seedling. People will receive recognition in the South Side Park newsletter as well. 

EScape Goat is a puzzle-solving activity. People must solve a series of puzzles along the trails to “save a goat”. For those able to solve all the puzzles, they will be entered to win a prize. There will also be an EScape Goat Junior Puzzle catered towards younger children. 

In addition, there will be live music, a petting zoo, an artisan market, food trucks and kid activities such as face painting, a puppet show, bubbles, games and an inflatable slide. 

Johnny “the parking chair” Wiedmann will MC the event. From noon to 1 p.m., DJs Melanie and Phil will perform. Next, The Biscuits, a local reggae-meets-ska-meets-punk band, will perform until 2 p.m. From 2 to 3 p.m., Paging Doctor Moon, a soulful singer-songwriter, will play. To close the event, Bluesdrivers, a local eclectic blues band, will perform.

More than 30 artisan vendors will be at Goat Fest. Attendees can purchase goat milk products, clothing, crocheted items, home decor, candles, art, jewelry and more. 

Most importantly, attendees will be able to see the stars-of-the-show — the goats! They will be near the Jurassic Valley Overlook, which is east on the South Side Park Trail. EScape Goat puzzles will be throughout this journey along the trail. 

Categories: The 412