June 11, 2012
Damp Dryden Dairy Day festivities
28th annual celebration is only the 3rd time it's rained at event
DRYDEN — Despite a constant drizzle all morning, more than 1,000 people turned out Saturday to watch the parade during the 28th annual Dryden Dairy Day.
The crowd lined Main Street from its intersection with Route 13 to Lewis Street to watch 62 community groups march through Dryden.
Afterward, paradegoers filtered into Montgomery Park for an afternoon of food and fun.
Laurie Hilsinger of Moravia brought her son Sam to the parade for the first time. Before it started they took the time to see the herd of wooden cows standing in the Village Green.
Each cow was painted and represented a local group or organization.
For Hilsinger, the parade is an opportunity to visit her hometown and share a fun event with her son.
“He’s very excited,” she said. “This is a chance to come back and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while.”
Parade organizer Brenda Carpenter has been involved in the event since it started.
It was only the third time in the parade’s history it rained and attendance was definitely down, she said.
“This is nothing,” she said, standing in Montgomery Park after the parade. “Usually people are packed shoulder to shoulder in here.”
Dryden Dairy Day is the only community-based celebration of the dairy industry in Tompkins County.
It began as part of a regional way to coordinate rural festivals.
Residents of Richford, in Tioga County, wanted to start a strawberry festival. They reached out to Dryden residents and asked if they wanted to hold a festival of their own.
“Originally all we were going to do was a community garage sale,” Carpenter said. The plan was for the two communities to ride the train down to each other’s festival.
While the community festival trade never happened, Dryden Dairy Day has become an established community event.
Inside Montgomery Park there was plenty of food and music throughout the day.
The Dryden Grange, which helps organize the event, was selling half pints of milk for 10 cents and a scoop of ice cream for 25 cents.
The prices, which not only made it an affordable treat, also showed people how much a farmer typically receives for his products.
A gallon of ice cream at the store can cost anywhere from $3 to $6, depending on the brand.
Over at the north edge of the park, the grange set up a petting zoo with two sheep, four calves and a full-grown milking cow.
Each animal had a sign telling people what breed it was and special characteristics about that breed.
Mike Ashdown, a member of the Dryden Grange, watched over the animals.
The parade and festival in the park are an important event for local farmers, he said.
“It brings the community together and it draws attention to local farmers,” Ashdown said. “It helps to educate people about the dairy industry.”
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