Dairy Fest offers educational fun

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo ShiAnn Nash of Clovis Vet Supply teaches Raquel Anaya how to rope a cow made of a bale of hay and a plastic head during Saturday’s Dairyfest at the Curry County Fairgrounds.

By CNJ staff writer: Gabriel Monte

While other children played games, had their faces painted and drank milk at the Curry County Fairgrounds during Saturday’s Dairy Fest, 6-year-old Gracie was helping to demystify the origin of milk.

Gracie is a Holstein cow and the star of a Southwest Dairy Farmers exhibit on milking cows. Exhibitor Cody Lightfoot said during his demonstrations in school most children believe milk comes from the grocery stores.

“We educate kids and grown-ups,” he said.

Lightfoot said the most common question he gets asked is if brown cows produce chocolate milk.

Sponsored by the United Dairy Women, the Dairy Fest is a celebration of the dairy industry in eastern New Mexico, according to Dairy Farmers of America Government and Business Affairs Director Walter Bradley, the festival’s announcer.

Bradley said 6,500 tickets were sold at the gate. Volunteers served hamburgers, milk cartons and ice cream bars.

The money from ticket sales will go to charitable organizations such as the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, Matt 25 and children’s homes.

Most of the activities during the festival were dairy related. They included milk-chugging, a cow-roping and cow milking contests. The band Restless Heart was the festival’s main entertainment event.

Gregg Garcia of Portales and his family attended the event and stayed through the rain, which lasted about 20 minutes.

“We don’t mind the rain,” said Garcia’s wife, Ann Marie.

Garcia’s son Derek, 12, said he enjoyed the milk-chugging contest, in which he came in second place.

“It was awesome,” he said.

By the numbers:

7,000 – burgers, milk boxes, and ice cream bars served at the Dairy Fest.

4 – stomachs a cow has