DRYDEN — The parade: just 10 vehicles. The route: more than 5 miles meandering across Dryden. The return of a large social gathering all about neighbors and fun? Highly anticipated.
Hundreds of people lined the parade route to wave, then gathered at the Dryden Agway for other features.
“We were terribly excited to see the pods of people gathered all along the parade route,” said Dan Carpenter, a Dryden resident and one of the organizers of the 37th Dryden Dairy Day on Saturday. “A nice crowd that made it feel like it was well worth the effort. It was wonderful, I mean, this almost felt like a small-time Dairy Day because there were so many people here.”
The parade featured live animals, plywood cutouts of cows decorated by businesses and organizations and Dryden’s Dairy Day princesses.
The spectacle made its 5-mile journey through town, weaving through neighborhoods before setting up shop at the Dryden Agway, joined by vendors with the Dryden Farmers Market.
The Carpenter family brought their young calf, Yo-Yo, to hang out at the live animal display along with Daisy Hollow Farm’s sheep, two young goats and a chicken that escaped from the parade float.
“Dairy Day is definitely fun, and I really like seeing all the smiles on little kids’ faces when they come by,” said Morgan Post, 14, who works at Daisy Hollow Farm. “But I did miss going out on the big circle in Montgomery Park. Me and my friends had a booth there a few years ago, so I definitely missed that.”
Organizers partnered with Trinity Valley Dairy and Dryden Central School District to supply nearly 1,000 gallons of milk to students and their families in the school’s food program.
Dryden kindergarten students submitted cow drawings in a coloring contest, and people could vote for their favorite.
The Dryden Dairy Day committee aims to expand its community support and outreach beyond one day of festivities. This year, the $300 agricultural scholarship was awarded to Eryn Woernley, who plans to pursue a degree in animal science with a focus on agriculture at Cornell University.
The committee also supports agriculture projects in school and several other community events, Carpenter said.
“Dairy Day is for the agricultural community in the Dryden area — that’s what it was started for and that’s why we do it,” he said. “There’s a lot of little things that come together and it’s just a great way that we can all get together.