Cows on the Concourse brought consumers and cows face-to-face in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday June 2. This year, a record number of families took part in the annual tradition, which serves as the official kick off of June Dairy Month in Dane County. Cows on the Concourse took place on the Capitol Square in downtown Madison, where the Dane County Farmers’ Market also connects consumers with farmers.
Visitors learned more about Wisconsin’s $26.5-billion dairy industry as they pet cows and chatted with volunteer Moo Experts at two different Cow Zones. Cows and calves of several breeds and ages gave consumers a better picture of the care the animals receive.
Consumers with more in-depth questions about farming could get their answers directly from producers in the Ask a Farmer Zone.
Running from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cows on the Concourse was truly fun for the whole family.
Children took part in a coloring contest, tested their dairy knowledge and created cow puppets in the Ed‘Moo’cation Zone.
Then they headed over to the Get Moooving and Fit Zone for activities like yoga and aerobic exercise, giving them the chance to learn how both physical activity and dairy products are part of a healthy lifestyle.
New this year, a partnership with Saturday Science gave families the chance to take a closer look at the science and technology behind dairy farming.
They hopped on a free shuttle that took them to the Institutes for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Kids made butter and ice cream, learned about genetics, and even viewed life through a cow’s eye with an eyeball dissection.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a June Dairy Month celebration without tasty dairy treats.
Several Cows on the Concourse vendors sold ice cream, cream puffs and specialty cheeses, while the Big Cheese Zone served up melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cold milk.
With delicious dairy treats in hand, everyone relaxed and enjoyed the entertainment stage, featuring messages from several agricultural ambassadors and music by Dick Leo and the Trio.
“Agriculture is Wisconsin’s signature industry and dairy is in the lead of that trend with each dairy cow in Wisconsin contributing $20,000 to the local economy,” said Andrea Bloom, Cows on the Concourse planning committee chair.
“Cows on the Concourse is a chance for us to join together in our state’s capital to celebrate our dairy industry, its economic impact, and all of the great ways it influences Wisconsin’s traditions, values and culture.”
Cows on the Concourse was presented by the Dane County Dairy Promotion Committee.
The organization also hosted Breakfast on the Farm the following Saturday. At the breakfast, five students were each awarded $1,000 scholarships toward their post-secondary educations in agriculture.
Event organizers are already looking forward to Cows on the Concourse 2013, which will again take place on the Capitol Square on June 1 of next year. PD
Photos courtesy of Cows on the Concourse.