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Swedish town hopes giant Christmas goat survives the season

Nov. 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM   |   Comments

GALVE, Sweden, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Swedish officials said they hope a giant straw goat erected for the Christmas season won't be burned down by vandals this year, as it usually is in most years.

The goat, which stands about 40 feet tall and is made of straw, stands in the center of the town of Gavle. It's been built every year since 1966 -- but usually doesn't last for more than a few days before someone torches it as a prank.

This year, the town's tourism board spokesman said the team that made the Gavle Goat soaked the straw in an anti-flammable chemical in an effort to keep it from going up in smoke.

"You never know, we've made it from material that's a little stronger this year, so it should be much harder to burn down," a spokesman at the Gavle tourist office told TheLocal.se. "But we're aware that the goat is only famous because it gets burned. It would be great if it didn't actually burn down this year, because that would be the most unexpected result. Then we might really get a lot of attention."

Last year, the goat made it until Dec. 12 before someone lit it on fire.

Someone once attempted to steal the goat using a helicopter, and a U.S. tourist was once charged with arson after trying to light the goat on fire, thinking it was an annual tradition and not against the law.

Another year a group of local teens got suspicious goat tattoos the day after it burned down.

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