There’s a new kid in town. He’s an explorer and a natural-born entertainer. Give him and his pals a rugged mountain to climb and they’re the happiest showmen around!

Those kids are the four-legged members of the 65th annual California State Fair’s inaugural exhibit Goat Mountain. I was among the authors staffing the California Authors Booth this year and got wind of this intriguing new attraction.

As a country girl, I was fascinated by a ranch in the foothills near my hometown where goats and horses occupied a field in harmony. While horses grazed, goats stood or laid atop old tree stumps and hilly pasture ground. Sometimes, we’d pass by at just the right time when the kids (the name for a baby goat under six months of age) were being kids, frolicking about.

I imagined the show those kids at the fair would give their audience—jumping, head butting, high kicking, uphill sprinting, and I just had to see it!

My first chance to drop by Goat Mountain was on my second day at the Fair. It was about 1 pm and by then, the poor little kids were laying on the shaded ground at the foot of their mountain under the large canvas tent which covered the area. Square box fans were operating at high speed to help comfort the little ones. Mama goats (also known as a does or nannies) were on duty as playground supervisors maintaining order.

I spoke with the young goat-herder and she said the kids are usually much more energetic in the morning and late evening. (Understandable. So am I.)

The Fair opened at 10 am on weekends. My shift on the last day began at noon. Perfect! I had a two-hour window to get to Goat Mountain and a chance to catch the kids in action.

My first stop was the author’s booth where I unloaded and set up my space as fast as I could. I knew time was of the essence with the hottest day on record predicted for that date in Sacramento.

As I approached the fenced-in area, I noticed the show had already begun. The kids were having a blast, putting on a performance that did not disappoint! I took photos (15 to be exact) and chuckled at their antics the whole time. Every “baa” brought a smile to my face.

I stood in awe at the display before me. Clearly, those kids were having the time of their lives, hopping around, sprinting to the mountaintop, play fighting, and posing for their admirers. I swear one cute little guy stood still on purpose when he saw a camera in my hand.

My writing genre is inspirational nonfiction. Inspiring people has become my purpose. There’s nothing more satisfying to me. I was trying to think what could I offer you that would be inspirational about baby goats.

You know what? It’s simple. We all need to live like a kid! Set aside time to play. Do something that brings you joy every single day. Don’t let fear stop you from climbing mountains. Most of all, seize the moment like somebody left the barn door open!

Denise Lee Branco