Dairy center stage in Dryden


Bob Ellis/staff photographer     
Erin Shults, a senior at Dryden High School, wears a cow hat as she marches with the Dryden High School Marching Band during the annual Dryden Dairy Day parade Saturday morning. The parade started near James Street and moved down Main Street before turning into Montgomery Park.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — Main Street was lined with multi-colored umbrellas and people huddled beneath any cover they could find Saturday morning.
With temperatures in the mid-40s and rain drizzling, then pouring, before briefly subsiding again, Dryden’s Dairy Days still brought people out of their houses and had them smiling in the streets.
The annual parade started near James Street and moved down Main Street before turning into Montgomery Park. With a police car in the lead and fire trucks letting out heavy blasts of their horns and sirens, the floats and marchers followed as kids darted into the street to pick up the candy that fell like hail in between the raindrops.
Tompkins County Dairy Princess Tori Baker, 16, of Ithaca rode in the back of an antique turquoise Ford truck.
Dryden Central School’s Solar Express, a rolling library that delivers books, seemed to taunt the crowd as it moved down the street. Many of those in the Tractors of Yesteryear, or TOYS club, shielded themselves with umbrellas, as did a convertible or two. A Clydesdale-drawn wagon was the entry from the First National Bank of Dryden, and other animals included cows in addition to dogs dressed as cows, complete with latex-gloves for udders.
The candy was a big draw. Adults, teenagers and young children alike scooped it up the moment it touched the pavement or grass, the adults looking slightly embarrassed and muttering something like, “Just grabbing it for the kids,” before shoving it in a pocket.
The Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District passed out young white cedar trees and elderberry vines from the back of a flatbed truck. Technician Jessica Verrigni said 1,700 plants were handed out Saturday.
“This is the first year we did this,” Verrigni said. “The adults are very happy to have something for them.”
Barbara and Stephen Finney stood under a maple tree with their twin sons Adrian and Thomas, 3.
“We come out every year,” Stephen Finney said. “Some come for the floats, and others just come for the candy.”
“I can’t miss Dairy Day. Our other kids are over there on the other side of the street getting candy. That’s all they want,” Barbara Finney said, laughing.
Stephen Finney took exception with the floats that promoted candidates for political office, such as the Dryden Democrats and their sign that said “It’s Udderly Obvious; Had Enough? Vote Democrat!”
“I don’t like that very much. It’s a little too political for a parade,” he said.
Mark Whitmore, 16, of Dryden watched the parade from in front of the Dryden Hotel. He said he has a few friends in the marching band.
“I always come down here, it’s pretty fun. Not so fun today, because it’s raining,” Whitmore said. “It’s a lot better when the weather’s better.”
After the procession down Main Street, the Dairy Day festivities moved to Montgomery Park. Tarps covered different vendors and stands, such as the 4-H Exchange Clubs Cake Wheel and the Rotary Club booth. Klein’s Archery of Dryden set up an archery alley with plastic-tipped arrows for children and targets suspended 15 feet away.
The 4-H Exchange club set up a roping demonstration. Jacob Ashdown, 15, has about two years of experience roping and was showing Collin Wildridge, 10, how to lasso a hay bale with a steer’s head attached. Both live in Dryden.
“It was fun, but I was getting a little cold,” Wildridge said. “The rope was really, really stiff, and hurt my hands.”
Chet and Liz Kaleta, Wildridge’s grandparents, had come down from Rochester for Dryden’s Dairy Days.
“We love it. We come down every year. I think it’s nice that they have something for everyone,” Liz said “Where else can you go to a parade and get seeds and trees?”
“It’s very nice for the Dryden community, with its small town activities,” Chet said. “We like the parade and wandering around the park meeting people.”
Sally Stevens of Jerry’s Junkin Treasures in McGraw sold jewelry, clothes, toys for kids and some car accessories from her stand. She said she enjoyed some of the classic standards being played by the Dryden Middle School and High School jazz ensembles.
“We came here last year, and this is our second year in business” Stevens said. “Last year went really well, but it was also more like summer. That’s why we have two tarps, we’ve found out the hard way before. You can’t predict these things.”
The Dryden Recreation Association was cruel enough to feature a dunk tank, but happily emergency personnel were on hand as they tried to dunk the volunteer.
Dryden Recreation Coordinator Jennifer Dube was selling shaved ice, and apparently a surprising amount of it was purchased.
“I did the dunk tank last year, I paid my dues,” Dube said. “Everybody was willing when they signed up, but this morning is a different story. But that’s fine. The ambulance company was kind enough to have a nice warm ambulance standing by.”
Event Chairperson Brenda Carpenter of Dryden has been the chair of Dryden’s Dairy Day since the first one in 1985.
“What I like about it is the opportunity to highlight local entertainment, merchants and craftspeople,” Carpenter said. “One of the things we always feature at Dairy Day is the carton of milk for a dime and a scoop of ice cream for a quarter. That’s actually about what the farmers get paid for it.”
Carpenter said that there is no soda allowed on the grounds during Dairy Day.


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Fiddlers fight chill at Festival


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The Delaney Brothers perform during Bluegrass on the Green on a wet and cold Saturday afternoon.

Staff Reporter
HOMER — Rain let up just in time Saturday for the 15th annual Bluegrass on the Green.
About 70 people sat in portable chairs on the Village Green, many with winter coats and blankets, enjoying the music of the Dyer Switch Band, Joe LaMay and Sherri Reese, and the Delaney Brothers Bluegrass band.
The event was sponsored by the village of Homer, Key Bank and WXHC 101.5, said event chair Steve Lundberg. WXHC broadcast the event live.
“The thing that’s really unique about this is that they broadcast this,” Lundberg said. “For a radio station with an oldies format to stick with this really says something about this event.”
Bruce Eves, vice president of WXHC, said the event was recorded and transmitted back to the studio using a remote pickup transmitter.
“This is pretty neat, it’s a pretty decent crowd,” Eves said. “People like to come down for a few hours and then switch over to across the street.”
The Homer Fire Department’s Firemen’s Field Days was held behind the station house, and the fire department served food underneath a tent on the Village Green.


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