Dairy Fest big hit in first year

By Michael Harrell: Freedom Newspapers

Even thunder and lightning couldn’t stop Saturday’s Dairy Fest, which attracted more than 5,000 people, according to event organizers.

“It’s great! We really did it,” said Michelle Heavyside, the director of the United Dairy Women.

Dairy Fest included a wide array of free games, booths, food and music, all in some way dairy-oriented. The $1 entry fee was for donations to the United Dairy Women.

Founded a year ago, the United Dairy Women came up with the idea as a way to celebrate National Dairy Month — there are more than 50 dairies in Roosevelt and Curry counties, educate the community on industry issues and raise funds for charity, Heavyside said.

The first-year event was an enormous hit amongst attendees. The festival, which was advertised to begin at 5 p.m., had people start coming in at noon, according to Heavyside.

Promoters used the booths sponsored by farmers, dairies, cheese companies and milk carriers to educate visitors about milk, cows, feed and even the process of milking a live cow.

One booth demonstrated the process of growing seeds that produce cow feed.

“It’s really great that they are involving kids so much with agriculture,” said Todd Northcutt as he watched his child roll by in the tractor-pull train ride. “We’d stay here until dawn if we could.”

A milk mustache booth invited children to apply their own milk mustache and get their picture taken by a “Got Milk?” ad.

Free food included one burger with cheese, a bottle of water and three supplements of dairy produce.

The event pushed the “3-A-Day” Campaign, which suggests people have three servings of a dairy product each day for a healthy intake of calcium, according to Teresa Wagner, a promoter of Dairy MAX.

The Bellamy Brothers, which proved to attract much of the audience, had a slightly delayed show due to rain, according to Heavyside.

“The Bellamy Brothers really are what got me to come,” said Monty Terrell, who traveled with his family from Fort Sumner to see the longtime country music artists.

Another music guest was Texico country singer Allie Brooks, who donated her time to sing with her band for the event.

The United Dairy Women arrived at 8 a.m, preparing everything from booths to the food,” Wagner said.

“It worked out so great. It was just phenomenal,” said Heavyside as the festivities came to a close.