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Sunday, December 4, 2016

VIDEO: Charlestown competitor lasts less than a day

Gävle Goat torched on first day
By Will Collette

To watch the sad demise of the Gävelbocken on YouTube:

Long-time Progressive Charlestown readers probably remember that each year at this time, I have tracked the progress of Sweden’s Gävle goat, Gävelbocken in Swedish as we count the days to what may be Charlestown’s last big New Year’s Eve bonfire.

The goat is a Christmas event in the town of Gävle celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Gävelbocken is about 50 feet tall, made of twigs and straw on a metal frame. It is meant to stand in the town square for the entire Christmas season.

In past years, I have reported on the Gävelbocken, drawing on the goat’s own blog, for news on its progress.

Not incidentally, I have also used the goat as a way to remind Charlestown residents of our own gala New Year’s Eve bonfire, a truly wonderful sight brought to us each year by Frank Glista.

As some of you know, this is the last year that Frank plans to build the bonfire. I don’t know if anyone else in town will take on the responsibility for keeping this local tradition going.

It cost Gävle $249,000 to build the Gävelbocken this year and town officials vowed that extra security measures would be taken to prevent what happens to the goat on most years where vandals burn the goat to the ground.

Last year, the goat lasted until the day after Christmas before being torched. This year’s goat, erected on November 27, was destroyed the same day. The fire, once started, completely consumed the Gävelbocken in seconds.

This is the 29th time in the Gävelbocken’s 50 year history that vandals burned it down.

I keep thinking about the $250,000 that Gävle, with a population of 71,033, invested in the Gävelbocken. Gävle is ten times bigger than Charlestown, but there are few things that Charlestown would do with 10% of $250,000 that was done just for family fun.

This final Charlestown New Year’s Eve bonfire is being built by volunteers, mainly Frank Glista, entirely with donated material. Maybe if Frank made it goat-shaped, he’d get more support from town government.

To watch this background story on the Gavelbocken on YouTube: