October 24, 2021

Drinking in the tradition

Hundreds turn out for 34th annual Dryden Dairy Day celebration

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Gaya Speight, 9, left, Kendra Jarvis, 9, center, and her twin sister, Chloe, ride on the Miller Cole Bin dump truck Saturday at the start of the Dryden Dairy Days parade.

DRYDEN — People passing through the village of Dryden this weekend may have noticed a lot of cows.

They were wooden cutouts. It was all part of an annual celebration now in its 34th year — Dryden Dairy Day.

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday in Dryden for the celebration, which started with a parade in the morning and flowed over to Montgomery Park.

“It’s a sense of community and the farming community,” said Eric Reisweber, a teacher at the Dryden High School.

Eric and Mary Reisweber, along with their dog, Oakley, were enjoying their day at the park.

Speaking with students outside of school was a highlight for Eric, he said.

“It’s a good way to get people together,” Reisweber said.

Art and jewelry vendors, along with animal booths and community agency booths were scattered throughout Montgomery Park for the 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. festival.

Colleen Valletta and her 3-year-old daughter, Lilliana, were making their way around the park. It was their first time at the Dairy Day, Valletta said. “We heard it was a nice community event,” she said. “A parade is a big attraction for a toddler.”

Lilliana liked the parade, mainly the candy though. She also liked seeing the Tompkins County dairy princess and real cows.

“It brings people from all over town and out of town,” said town Supervisor Jason Leifer.

The Dryden Dairy Day offers a town tradition, they can come to the park and check out vendors. “It’s nice to have a little tradition around,” Leifer said.

Tim and Andrea Shea had finished watching the parade before moving on to the fair. Last year, they caught only the parade, Tim Shea said.

They planned on wandering around checking things out and looking for good ice cream.

Allicia Sand and her three children — Mary, 5, Lillian, 2 and Edward 2 1/2 months — missed the fair last year after moving to Dryden two years ago.

Sand said she remembers growing up in a small farm town that had a similar event. “It’s important for them to learn about how hard it is to farm or where food comes from,” she said.

As she talked, Mary and Lillian checked out chickens and ducks at one of the booths. “They love the animals,” their mother said.

One day, Sand hopes her children grow up to participate in the parade or even join a group like 4-H. “It’s important to see these things and not technology all the time,” Sand said.