The Goatman returns to support education
Emilie Mims Special to the Advance
The infamous vagabond, the Goatman, will return to this year's Williams Station Day as the star of the 2003 festival shirt. "The Goatman Makes the Last Payment on the School Bus," a colorful painting by Brewton artist Larry Manning, is the graphic for this year's shirt. Many will remember the original Goatman graphic, "The Goatman Arrives at the Station," which appeared on shirts and posters at the 2000 festival.
If you were born after 1960, or never had the adventure of visiting a Goatman encampment, you may be asking, 'Who is the Goatman?'
From 1930 to 1968 Ches McCartney, also know as the Goatman, traveled the roads of America in a box-shaped wagon pulled by a team of goats and accompanied by as many in tow. Traveling at one mile an hour, the Goatman's arrival became a community event comparable to a carnival arriving in town. Amazed at the strange sight, children would beg their parents to let them go and see the Goatman at his campsite. Over the years, the man and his goats managed to entwine themselves in the folklore of rural America. People quickly forgot his real name, and attached the title "Goatman" to this wildly bearded traveler. Because of Atmore's location at the crossroads of two heavily used highways, State Road 21 and U.S. 31, the Goatman passed through Atmore on many occasions, often camping just outside of town. Although his permanent home was in Georgia, he traveled all over the southeast. Living for many years in a bright yellow school bus in his hometown of Jeffersonville, Ga., Ches McCartney died in 1999.
Since its beginning in 1992 Williams Station Day has prided itself in producing t-shirts with high quality, original graphic images. With the present funding crisis in public education, the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce has committed one dollar of each t-shirt sold to the public schools.
Williams Station Day will be held on Oct. 25. Festival shirts are available at the Chamber offices and local banks.