by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
New York’s dairy industry celebrated their 42nd annual Dairy Day at the Great New York State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 30 with FFA members, 4-H youth and the NYS Dairy Princesses on hand answering questions and promoting the dairy industry.
Herkimer County Dairy Princess Connie Louise Frasier attended the event to promote dairy and assist in activities.
“Dairy Day at the New York State Fair is an amazing event,” Frasier said. “And it provides us with a chance to inform consumers about the benefits of dairy, because we need to continually educate the public about the importance of dairy products in the diet.”
Oswego County Dairy Princesses Ericka Vrooman agrees that informing the public about the positive effects of dairy need to be focused on.
“Dairy day started bright and early with news interviews in the cattle barn and in the dairy products building,” said Vrooman. “Then all of us county Dairy Princesses and the State Court handed out milk punch with breakfast.”
Vrooman says the princesses kept busy all day during the event and after breakfast they headed to the “Shake Off.”
“We broke into groups to pair up with the radio stations to make milk shakes,” she reports.
Frasier says the fair provided an excellent opportunity to talk to consumers.
“It was a wonderful time to also talk to the consumers about stewardship,” said Frasier, commenting that although there are numerous complaints about the smell of manure when it is being spread, dairy princesses explain to the public that farmers are not trying to be a nuisance.
“We are not in business to just make an odor,” she laughs. “Dairy farmers do the best job possible to be great neighbors.”
While some of the princesses assisted in the dairy cattle barn handing out show ribbons, and some went to the dairy products building to hand out dairy samples, most took turns talking to folks at the Birthing Center during some part of the day.
Frasier says the Birthing Center is one of the most exciting places to be on the fairgrounds.
“The birthing center is the coolest event for the public,” remarked Frasier. “It has been a magnificent addition to the fair daily schedule. It’s amazing! And it’s the best place to be to watch children’s facial expressions when a birth is taking place.”
Vrooman said she and some princesses also worked at the Daniel Parrish Witter Agricultural Museum for the 90th anniversary of the building where they handed out milk punch.
Vrooman and Oswego County Alternate Princess Taylor Bonoffski also had the opportunity to make butter.
She and Wyoming County Dairy Princess Danielle Herrick distributed tickets to fair attendees allowing them to free milk refreshments at Tully’s Good Times Milk Bar, in the Dairy Products Building where the 50th annual butter sculpture, was displayed.
Frasier commented that as New York is the third largest dairy producing state in the country, with more than 4,000 dairy farms and over 6,000,000 dairy cows, she is proud to represent the dairy industry as the Herkimer County Dairy Princess.
“It’s an honor and a privilege for us to hold this position,” said Frasier. “I believe it is crucial for the consumer to see cows, dairy products, farmers, and dairy princesses at this event.”