Community rallies to build Cape Breton goat farm destroyed by fire

A popular Nova Scotia goat farm on the Cabot Trail that was destroyed in a fire is set to be rebuilt just in time for the busy tourist season.

The Groovy Goat lost all of its animals in the blaze, but community members have been stepping up to help the facility rise again.

The farm went up in flames five months ago, an event the Costelo family will never forget.

"It's still devastating and it was a lot to process for sure. We lost so much at the time," says co-owner Shannon Costelo.

Nearly two dozen goats, along with several horses, all perished in the fire.

Ryan Costelo is not only part owner of the farm, he is also the fire chief in Ingonish Beach, meaning he had to help put out the flames at his own property.

"We miss our goats, we really do. Our bathroom window upstairs looks over where the barn was, and every day looking out there, we miss them and look forward to them coming back," says Ryan Costelo.

With help from community members, the family is moving forward and will soon rebuild their barn, as some of the new animals are already on their way.

"We actually ordered our goats, so things are coming together really quickly now. They're being shipped from Saskatchewan and because of the support, those goats are sponsored by other people, which is amazing," says Ryan Costelo.

Volunteers and community members will come together July 23 to 26 to help rebuild the structure.

The family says they bought t-shirts and hard hats for everyone. Restaurants are supplying meals and the rebuild will be a team and community effort, just in time for the tourism season.

"Our business - partly because of COVID, but also because we don't have the petting farm experience - we've been a lot slower than usual," says Ryan Costelo.

"We don't have the goats and the animals to draw people to our business."

The Costelos are hoping to open a new chapter, but admit it will be an emotional weekend for everyone.

"Shannon says she thinks it's just going to be a day of crying for her. I'll be too busy to think about it until it's over," says Ryan Costelo.

Coming together as a community, one piece of lumber at a time.