Hundreds of locals filled the sidewalks along Main Street for the parade before filing into Montgomery Park for the rest of the festivities during the 35th annual Dryden Dairy Day on June 8.
Each year a different theme is selected as the official theme of that year’s Dair Day, with this year’s theme being: “Raise Your Glasses for Dairy Pride.”
The idea for the theme was created by Chris Lashure, a student at George Junior Republic. Brenda Carpenter, Secretary and Chair of the Dryden Dairy Day Committee, said in an Article for the Dryden Courier on June 5 this year’s theme was chosen in honor of the month of June being National Dairy Month.
“It’s hard when we’re looking for a theme,” Carpenter said. “Some themes are just really great and they’re catchy, but because we encourage both the cows that go in Time Square and the parade entries to exemplify theme, it has to be something that has a visual appeal to it. This one we thought did. We could see people riding on floats, raising their glass for dairy.”
The celebration kicked off at 9:30 a.m. on what would be a steamy, cloudless day with the parade starting on East Main Street, through West Main Street and up Lewis Street. The parade featured marching bands from the Dryden and Marathon Central School Districts, Dairy Day-themed floats from groups, families and organizations such as the Daisy Brownie Girls Scouts, New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County 4-H Youth, some old tractors, a vintage Chevrolet, an airplane and even the likes of the Adam’s Family.
One of the main purposes of the event is to celebrate the local agricultural community. Village of Dryden board member Jason Dickinson, who was in attendance for Dair Day, said it is one of many aspects of the town and village that is highly cherished.
“We’re so supportive of our farmers,” Dickinson said. “We’re very proud of our schools, the people that work here.”
Following the parade, folks made their way to Montgomery park where all of the main attractions were held. Several vendors set up shop to sell their goods. Live music was played and performed by a couple of bands from the Dryden Central School District in the gazebo in the heart of the park. There were livestock such as rabbits, goats, sheep and, of course, cows, for people to come up to to take a photo with, pet or just admire.
The three-on-three basketball tournament was cancelled this year due to a lack of people signing up for the tournament. However, there was still enough fun to go around with activities like a dunk tank and a hay bale toss competition.
Resident Karla Eshelman has been coming to Dairy Day since she was a kid. Eshelman said her fondest memories of the day are of the parade.
“Just seeing the community come together and all the activities being supported,” Eshelman said. “It’s what makes Dryden unique.”
Now with four children, Eshelman said she enjoys seeing them enjoy an event that she relished as a child.
“It’s just fun that they can enjoy it and enjoy the activities and have fun,” she said.
Town of Dryden board member Alice Green was also in attendance that day. Green said she has been going to Dairy Day for over 40 years ever since she moved to Dryden with her children.
“When you’re a mother bringing little kids, the animals are the [hot] spot,” Green said. “Animals and icecream. Just those all-American [aspects]. That’s where my little girls just wanted to be petting the cows and the goats and the sheep.”
She said Dairy Day is an accurate representation of the Dryden community.
“All of the people lining up along the entire parade are just so enthusiastic,” she said. “We were number 25 in over a hundred different people in the parade, and then they all come into this melting-pot-of-a-place at Montgomery Park. It’s just the best of Dryden.”