January 23, 2022

Dairy Day modified, but not canceled

DRYDEN– Dryden’s 38th annual Dairy Day will be modified this year to avoid social gatherings while maintaining some tradition, an organizer said.

Although funds raised are limited this year, Dairy Day will still feature a small parade followed by a live animal display, T-shirt sales and the kindergarten coloring contest in the Dryden Agway parking lot, said Brenda Carpenter, chairwoman of the Dryden Dairy Day Committee.

“We usually put a float in the parade and that’s kind of it for our involvement, but they didn’t want crowds at Montgomery (Park) and since they’re not doing most of the events, they just asked me if they could just do that stuff here and I said of course,” said Kelly Ritter, owner of Dryden Agway.

The parade – which usually involves 60 to 70 floats from businesses in addition to marching bands, sports teams and walking groups – will have only nine entries this year, including a police escort and a vehicle from the fire department, Carpenter said. Instead of its usual route on Main Street, the parade will travel back roads and streets where children live.

If you go

WHAT:Dryden Dairy Day
WHERE:Downtown Dryden
FEATURED: Parade begins 9:30 a.m. at Dryden High School; and Small Time Dairy begins at 10:30 a.m. at Dryden Agway.

“We worked with the police chief to try and find streets that had a number of young families so they could come out and enjoy the parade,” Carpenter said. “After having that plan in place, committee members thought things were beginning to ease up and more and more people are able to get outside.”

The Tompkins County dairy princess and members of her court will be at Dryden Agway after the parade handing out a Dairy Day quiz and cheese samples, Carpenter said. In addition, Ritter will host a farmers market and HeatSmart Tompkins will have an insulation and heat pump display.

“Normally, the first farmers market is the Saturday after Dairy Day but we had an inkling it wasn”t going to happen, so we started it a week early,” Ritter said. “Dairy Day is usually my first day off all spring because we are so slow here.”

“We’ve been working on forward-thinking measures to help Dryden adapt to climate change, from stronger energy codes for new construction, to this information campaign,” said Dan Lamb, deputy town supervisor. “We want homeowners and renters to know about big incentives the state is offering right now to help low- and moderate-income residents upgrade their energy systems.”

On a normal Dairy Day, Montgomery Park would have a slew of activities – vendors selling ice cream, food, crafts and milk; live entertainment; contests and information booths. Because the event was canceled last year, the dairy day committee used funds raised to buy more than 1,000 gallons of milk in partnership with Trinity Valley Dairy, which delivered the milk for school programs, Carpenter said.

“This is the day we celebrate all agriculture, but especially our dairy farmers,” Carpenter said. “We will dearly miss our grand parade but we are super excited to be back in Montgomery Park next year.”