Dairy Fest offers food, entertainment and education

CNJ file photo The third annual Dairy Fest will be held this Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Curry County Fairgrounds.

By Janet Bresenham: Freedom New Mexico

For anyone who has ever wondered about life on a dairy, one local summer event has the answers.

This year’s third annual Dairy Fest will take place Saturday at the Curry County Fairgrounds in Clovis.

“Dairy Fest is a day of family-oriented fun where we encourage and invite the local communities to come,” said Megan Palla, treasurer of United Dairy Women, the group that plans the annual event.

“We want to teach them everything about the dairy industry, from growing feed to raising calves to milking cows,” said Palla, who lives on a Curry County dairy farm with her family. “We also want to feed them all sorts of dairy products and we want to entertain them.”

Michelle Heavyside, who lives with her family on a dairy farm northeast of Portales, organized United Dairy Women. It includes about 75 members from New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

Dairy Fest will offer a variety of free food ranging from ice cream, milk and yogurt to cheeseburgers and root beer floats, Heavyside said.

The United Dairy Women president said when she first organized the group three years ago, she received lots of questions about the dairy industry.

“I started thinking that maybe there was a way where we could help educate the public about the dairy industry,” Heavyside said. “That’s how Dairy Fest came about. First, it’s our chance to say ‘thank you’ to the local communities, and second, it helps put a local face on the dairy industry.”

Dairy farmers, veterinarians, hoof trimmers, dairy transport workers and nutritionists will be among those on hand to share their roles in the dairy industry as part of a virtual dairy tour.

For fun, Dairy Fest attendees will find dairy-oriented games that include “Pin the Tail on the Cow,” “Cow Pattie Toss” and roping “a pretend cow,” Heavyside said.

The event will be capped off with a concert by “Restless Heart,” which is celebrating 25 years on tour.

In addition, Dairy Fest will feature several local nonprofit agencies that depend on the food industry to feed children and others in need, including the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, the Lighthouse Mission and Matt 25, Heavyside said.