We are an adventurous family. When we hear of some event or festival, we go to it. If there is something crazy to do, we are totally on board. New experiences are our bread and butter, so when we heard about the Killington Hay Festival, there was pretty much no chance that we were not going to go. Even when we woke up on Saturday to chilly winds and a steady drizzle of rain, we were not deterred. There may be something wrong with us.
We crammed into the car, me, my wife, my daughter, my son, and one of my daughter’s friends from her kindergarten class, and started the hour and a half to two hour drive down to the festival. Now, when I say festival I do not mean the sort of festival that might immediately spring to mind. The Killington Hay Festival is basically a collection of giant animals made out of hay that are scattered around the town of Killington, VT, and each giant hay animal (or Haynimal, as I have just now nicknamed them) has a trivia question attached to it. As you travel along this scavenger hunt of hay, you take pictures of the haynimals and find the trivia answers located at each stop and then you can turn in your form for a chance to win some unspecified prizes. And that is pretty much all there is to the festival. Supposedly there was a corn maze somewhere, but we never found it.
Well, I have to say that the haynimals were awesome. There were many different kinds of animals represented, including a fox, an octopus, a peacock, a lobster, and an angry bird, all made out of hay! There was a even a giant hay horse that the kids could actually climb up on and pretend to ride. Some of the haynimals did experience a few technical difficulties, the kangaroo had blown over and was laying on its side on the ground for instance, but that didn’t make us love them any less. In fact, the blown over kangaroo was my daughter’s favorite animal of the whole day.
It was at the alleged goose haynimal location that things got a little dicey. We had just found the hay pig, which was only a a few dozen yards from the hay goose according to our map, so we decided to split up. Simone took the car over towards the goose area while the kids and I covered the ground on foot. I noticed that, for realism purposes, they had covered the whole place with goose poop, so it took us a few minutes to navigate the lawn that we were crossing. By the time we made it to the next location, Simone had already arrived with the car and was busy searching for the hay goose.
Instead, what she found was a gaggle of actual geese who were not that happy to have anyone trespassing on their turf. They advanced on her rather quickly, honking angrily and flapping their gigantic goosey wings. She tried to retreat, but the faster she backed up, the faster the geese came at her. As we walked down the hill towards her location I started to get concerned for her safety, but she was laughing and taking pictures of the ferocious fowl.
Ruby and her friend had, by this time, arrived at the bottom of the hill where the geese had now slowly but decisively moved over and cut my wife off from the car. They were snapping their beaks very aggressively and honking as if to say “We are bored and are now going to bite you all to death.” That is a rough translation, as I only took one semester of goose in college, and that was over a decade ago.
Separated from our transportation and faced with an advancing horde of pernicious poultry, my wife turned to the rest of us and said “Okay everyone. We’ve got no choice now. We have to rush them.” I quickly realized that she was right (as she usually is) and we were going to have to turn the tables on the malicious beasts. They outnumbered us 6 to 5, and since 3 of us were under age 6, they may have had a slight size advantage as well. It was time to go on a wild goose chase.
“Okay,” I said, getting us into a huddle as the birds came perilously close, “on the count of three we’re going to run at the geese and yell as loud as we can. Ready?” The kids could almost not believe that this was happening, but they seemed to agree, at least tentatively. “One…” We turned to face the mob. “Two…” We steeled ourselves for what was to come. “THREE!”
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!” we all screamed as we ran at the geese, flailing our arms wildly and trying to be as scary as two weirdos and three toddlers can be. The geese, clearly not expecting this, turned feathery white tail and ran, their goosey faces overcome with fear. We chased them to the other side of the road and then ran as fast as we could into the car before they had a chance to regroup. This was a good plan I think, because as soon as we were in the car they started advancing on us again, slowly honking in unison as they approached with caution and determination. Luckily we were now in a car, so we just drove away.
We saw many other haynimals that day (although we never found the hay goose), but the kids could not stop talking and laughing about those geese. In fact, they asked us about every five minutes if we could go back and get chased by the geese again. We did not give in to this request, but at least they had a memorable day at the very exciting Killington Hay Festival. And who knows, maybe we will win a prize.