November 26, 2021

Dryden celebrates dairy

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Vicki Wilkins of the Dryden Lake Festival planning committee helps Dryden resident Ava Ortiz, 11, make “cow udders” with rubber gloves Saturday at Dryden Dairy Day. These “udders to go,” according to Wilkins, are made with corn starch and water.

The painted wooden cows in Time Square among crowds holding balloons along Main Street could mean one thing: Dairy Day had returned to Dryden.

With it came 10-cent milk and 25-cent ice cream cones. Those numbers represent what farmers receive for producing milk. Brenda Carpenter said she and other event organizers have done the math over the years. In June, for example, farmers are paid 11.1 cents per 8-ounce cup of milk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The other costs go towards processing, marketing and transport,” Carpenter said.

The 34th annual event Saturday featured a parade and a host of activities afterward in Montgomery Park. It recognized the effect of the dairy industry in Dryden. People could get their face painted, jump in the bounce house and listen to school music groups.

At the petting zoo, people could pet cows, sheep, chickens, chinchillas and a rabbit from Beck Farms, 4-H groups from a backyard farm run by Amy Pallone. Mike Ashdown, a member of the Dryden Grange who set up the pens. Ashdown said they usually have a lactating cow, along with a contest to guess how much milk it lactates, but none was available.

“This is very popular with kids groups,” Ashdown said. “Everybody wants to pet an animal.”

Pallone’s chinchillas, meanwhile, had to stay in a cage in the shade, out of public view.

“They’re nocturnal animals, so this daytime stuff is too much for them,” Pallone said.

The parade consisted of about 50 groups, including farmers, politicians, fire departments, a marching band, businesses, and a variety of old cars. One float was a giant birthday cake, celebrating the 200th birthday of Tompkins County. The day featured 61 vendors, Carpenter said.

One of them was Scotta Be Good, run by two kids from Brooktondale, southeast of Ithaca. Titus Scott, 10, his sister Chloe, 8, and their mother, Karyn, set up a stand close to the performing area. They were busy selling soap, coffee, hot chocolate mix, coconut water, cookies and balm.

“We go to different festivals and door to door,” Titus said, as part of Young Entrepreneur Market, a class offered in Ithaca.

It was also the Scott’s first time at the Dairy Day celebrations and they had the time to take in their surroundings.

“I liked the parade,” Titus said. “Everyone’s welcoming and nice here.”