SILER CITY — Off along 144 Celebrity Dairy Way in Siler City lies a lone dairy farm named after the road it’s been located on since 1989.
Celebrity Dairy, though, isn’t your typical dairy farm — owners Brit and Fleming Pfann use goats as the only source of milk for their products, and they have an inn on property where people can spend the night or hold parties and weddings.
In the years following the start of their business, the Pfanns have also allowed guests to their farm to witness the more than 100 baby goats normally birthed between February and March each year. Now, they are preparing to welcome people once again for their annual goat tours starting on Feb. 5.
“There’s just incredible life and enthusiasm in the baby goats,” Brit said. “They’re just all over excited with the world and everything going on, and it’s great to share that with people.”
Each of the goats has its own unique personalities and special names. The farm’s original goats were named after famous celebrities, such as Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. Some of the goats on the farm today also have unique names, such as Bessie (because she looks like a cow), Lady Di, and Rudy (named after the subject of the highly acclaimed sports film of the same name).
The Pfanns started their goat tours as school field trips, but soon after, they shifted to an “open barn weekend” where people could come out and interact with young goats.
The tours also served as a way to help acclimate the goats to being around humans, according to Celebrity Dairy Inn Manager Marcey Clark.
“As these goats are being born, we’d like them socialized because when we go to milk them and bring them into the milking parlor, we want them used to humans, we want them to like humans and we want them to associate us with good things,” Clark said.
Plenty of people came to the farm to socialize with the goats during these open barn weekends, according to Clark.
“People would come hundreds at a time, up to 800 people have shown up here, and they would have food, rides, games and all day with the goats,” she said.
The ongoing pandemic, however, forced the Pfanns to rethink how they would handle guests coming to their property. At first, Brit said, he did not anticipate being able to allow people back onto the farm to see the goats until after a treatment or vaccine was made readily available.
When people started to contact him and ask for tours again, he came up with the idea to have small group tours with no more than 15 people each.
“If you can bring a pod of people you are comfortable with, we can schedule an hour and a half with a group of up to 15 people,” Brit said, “and we’ll charge you 150 bucks, $10 a head.”
And that’s what Celebrity Dairy did.
Celebrity Dairy owners and staff are continuing with the small group model this year due to the Omicron variant, and they ask people to be vaccinated if they plan on coming to the farm. Face coverings are also required for children who cannot be vaccinated due to their age.
Clark said even the goats on property have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We vaccinated our goats, because they can get it too,” she said. “We are trying to make it as safe as possible for everyone.”
Despite the pandemic’s various hurdles, the Pfanns and Clark have managed to keep the farm and inn operational and safe, including the goat tours.
Why was it important to keep the event going?
For Clark, the goats help to provide a chance to interact with and learn about an animal in a way they may not be able to do otherwise.
“When you see a picture of a goat, it’s adorable and it looks like a nice little farm animal, but for the most part, unless you grew up on a farm, you don’t know when you get with these goats [that] they will play with you like a dog does,” Clark said. “There is nothing more adorable than one of these goats.”
For Brit, it’s all about the tradition behind the tours. He said he’s seen people come back again and again with their kids over the years to play with the goats. For him, it’s all about giving the community a place where they can make lifelong memories and deepen the connections between friends and family.
“That sort of continuity is a real treat to me that we have people that came out here as children themselves, and now they’re bringing their own kids,” he said. “People come here to experience time together, build the bonds within the family or your group of friends, and the goats are catalysts for them I think.”
The goat tours at Celebrity Dairy and Inn start on Feb. 5 and will run every weekend until Mar. 27 at 144 Celebrity Dairy Way in Siler City. Goat tours will not take place on Feb. 20 or Mar. 20 due to events happening around the farm on those days.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.