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Dairy Parade draws crowd, cheers

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Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
(Above)Twin sisters Montana and Miranda Wolf, 5, of German, get excited as they see the start of the dairy parade Tuesday night.(Below) Gabrielle Gates gets a kiss from her father, Glenn, after being crowned the 2006 Cortland County Dairy Princess.

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By EVAN GEIBEL
Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Main Street was a celebration of everything dairy Tuesday evening.
Some people had staked out seating an hour before the parade was even scheduled to begin, sitting in the sun and enjoying what turned out to be flawless parade weather — only a wool-clad marching band member or two might have disagreed.
Drum cadences filled downtown as area marching bands lined up along the streets perpendicular to the parade route and prepared to make their entrance onto Main Street. Participating floats filled side streets as they awaited their entrance.
Luann King, one of this year’s Warm Hands Award recipients and a member of the Cortland County Dairy Promotion Committee, said the organizers try to make sure that each cross-street opens with a marching band.
“It keeps the music going,” King said, laughing. “Makes sure the rhythm of the parade is left-right, left-right.”
For 48 years, the Dairy Parade has helped defined the community in a county where almost 80 percent of farms are dairy farms.
Cortland County’s parade has even prompted others to consider starting their own.
“We were up here for last year’s,” said Amy Price, the Broome County Dairy Princess, as she waited on Maple Avenue with her court. “We would like to have a dairy parade; we were actually just talking about that tonight.”
Members of the Cortland Police Department weren’t available for comment this morning regarding the number of people who lined the parade route.
After the parade, about 60 people gathered in front of the Cortland County Courthouse as the awards for the floats were given out.
CAPCO Head Start won the award for the best youth group whose float promoted the dairy industry. They made an impressive group as a horde of children in cow masks walked down the street with their parents and teachers.
For the second year in a row, the Jazzy Belles won the award for best nonprofit group. The Belles are a local chapter of the Red Hat Society.
Leach’s Custom Trash Service won the award for best dairy promoting business for their “Wizard of Oz”-themed float, complete with participants dressed as the characters and a rainbow spouting from a carton of milk.
The best overall entry for this year went to First Pioneer Farm Credit, whose float had singers belting out pop songs and the familiar dairy logo providing a backdrop, stating “Milk, the American Idol.”
Brenda Brooks, also a member of the Dairy Promotion Committee, was responsible for organizing the parade and Dairy Princess pageant held afterward in Courthouse Park.
“It went great. We had around a hundred entries (by participating groups),” Brooks said. “Organizing this is a year-round thing; it really is. People start calling me next week to be in the parade. I think they come down and see it and see how many people are in it, and they want to participate.”
The Cortland Fire Department knew how to get attention as one of its trucks moved down the street with a placard informing the crowd that “Milk Makes Firefighters Strong.”
Cassie Clark, 17, got excited as members of the Koei-Kan Karate-Do came into sight.
“Oh, my God! I love the karate little kids. I don’t know, they’re just so cute,” Clark said.
Clark’s friend Alyssa Pool, 16, concurred.
“They’ve got the little belts and the baggy pants.” Pool said.
“They’re so adorable.”
The martial arts were also well represented by members of Capoeira Angola Quintal, who took turns displaying their graceful, slavery-born Brazilian blend of fighting and dance. Those members who weren’t demonstrating sang in Portuguese, instructor Dave Walker said.
“This is my second year marching,” Walker said at the end of the parade route on Huntington Street. “Last year it was a smaller group, but it’s (capoeira) getting more popular in the movies and on TV.”
Dan Walker and Bobby Gauthier, both students of Capoeira who had sparred as they marched, noted that it was a little more difficult to perform on the move.
“It was definitely good practice,” Gauthier, 17, said. “Very good for endurance.”
The Society for Creative Anachronism marched in the Dairy Parade wearing Renaissance and medieval clothing.
“We’re in a group that does medieval re-creations,” said member Bernadette Travis, of Homer. “This was our first time marching. It was pretty cool.”
Travis’ son Rowan, 6, and daughter Emily, 4, also dressed in period clothing. Rowan made a fearsome knight, complete with helmet and shield (plastic, of course), while Emily complemented the weather perfectly with a wreath of flowers on her crown.
Both children said they had a lot of fun seeing their friends and passing out candy.
Rowan said he would march again next year, under one condition: “Not in hot clothes. Unless it’s cold.”

 

Gates crowned Dairy Princess
By EVAN GEIBEL
Staff Reporter
In one of the most poignant moments of Tuesday’s local dairy activities, Nicole Root, the 2005 Dairy Princess, passed on her crown to the new Cortland County dairy royalty.
Gabrielle Gates of Marathon, 16, received her crown as the 2006 Dairy Princess on the Cortland County Courthouse steps. Gates had been a dairy ambassador for two years.
“I was a little bit nervous during the interviews we had this afternoon,” Gates said, referring to the judging that took place in the 1890 House. “They gave us different scenarios that we might go through as dairy princess, and we gave an explanation about how we would answer someone who had a doubt as to how dairy is healthy.”
Gates said she was looking forward to this weekend, when she will flex her dairy princess muscles at Dryden Dairy Days.
Gates was sponsored by R&M Farm & Pro Hardware and has been very active in two 4-H clubs — Country Cousins and Cortland County Teen Council.
Erin Jones, 17, of Little York, the other candidate, was chosen as the alternate.
“It was a lot of fun,” Jones said. “Gabrielle and I have worked together in the past, and we work … really well together.”
Dairy Promotion Committee members Cathy Cornell and Samantha Augur appeared a bit nervous when the time came to announce the new dairy princess. A quiet, “You open it,” could be heard over the public address system.
“It’s my first year having to (announce the winner),” Cornell said afterward, laughing at her own hesitancy. “It’s a little nerve-racking.”

 

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County offers Homer hauler payment plan  

 

By COREY PRESTON
Staff Reporter

The county has reached an agreement that would allow the village of Homer’s trash hauler to pay off more than $50,000 it owes in back-due tipping fees to the Cortland County landfill.
Under the agreement, Almost Anything Trash Removal would pay the county $4,000 per month until its debt is paid.
The county Highway Committee endorsed the agreement Tuesday, and forwarded a resolution to the county Legislature, which will vote on the proposal June 22.
With a debt that stood at $52,891.46 as of May 8, the Groton-based trash hauler would be making payments for approximately the next 13 months, according to County Administrator Scott Schrader.
“The county and the village have been real patient with me, and the county is going to get the money they’re owed,” said Steve Whatman, owner of Almost Anything.
The county would continue to require that Whatman pay his monthly tipping fees in cash, Schrader said.
“The concern that we’ve got is having the delinquency continue to increase,” Schrader said. “Theoretically we’re going to be in business with this company for awhile, so we want to get this in order.”
Whatman’s contract with the village of Homer runs until March 2010, Mayor Mike McDermott said.

 

 

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