As It Happens

Gävle 'a city in sorrow' after giant Christmas goat goes up in flames, again

On Nov. 27, the 2016 Gävle goat was burned to the ground just hours after a party in its honour. Gävle goat spokesperson Maria Wallberg says she hopes another straw goat will be built before Christmas.

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Every year, a giant straw Christmas goat appears in the town square in Gävle, Sweden. And almost every year, someone sets it on fire.  

Every year we hope that he is going to stay with us. Sadly, he often turns to fire.- Gävle goat spokesperson, Marie Wallberg

On Sunday night, the goat was set alight only hours after the town held its official welcome party.

"There was a perpetrator that set the Gävle goat on fire, then he escaped," Gävle goat spokesperson Marie Wallberg told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

This year was supposed to be different. 

Authorities in the town had installed security cameras around the beloved goat. Two guards were hired to watch the giant straw animal.

 "One of the guards went to the toilet," says Wallberg. "Then the perpetrator took advantage of this oppurtunity."

 The Gävle goat has been installed in the town centre for 50 years, and has been burned down 35 times.

"Every year we hope that he is going to stay with us," says Wallberg. "Sadly, he often turns to fire."

Police in Gävle are not taking the crime lightly. They are reviewing CCTV footage, and a key piece of evidence left at the scene.

"The person who did this had a winter hat on him that he lost," says Wallberg. "In that there can be traces of DNA. Maybe the police are going to catch him."

Meanwhile, there is a campaign to raise money to build another Gävle goat before Christmas. 

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