This is a re-post of a CNN iReport I did very quickly about our local cow parade!
The Strolling of the Heifers is literally that! A parade of cows that takes place every year the town I live in, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA.
The Strolling of the Heifers is a free event dedicated to: “educating the public about sustainable local agriculture” (strollingoftheheifers.com). While the event may seem old, it actually began in 2002, when a group of concerned farmers and civic leaders who were worried about the future of farms in the area, organized a parade to coincide with the beginning of National Dairy Month.
Brattleboro, population about 12,000, is located on the Connecticut river, 200 miles North of New York City. This parade is the town’s biggest yearly event, sometimes attracting over 40,000 people.
If you come to see it, get there early because the cow’s come first, followed by the wonderful clean up crew dressed as giant buzzing fruit – really. Then come the floats, bands, schools, and performances. After the parade, the town commons lawn becomes a “Green Fest” full of vendors of green products and services. Below, on the Retreat lawn, is “Dairy Fest,” where vendors sell all kinds of food and wares, while a band or two plays.
“Seeking to slow down and even reverse the decline of New England farming, Strolling of the Heifers works to educate the public, and especially school children, about the importance of sustainable local agriculture; we work to preserve the livelihoods of farming families and the health of consumers who depend on local farm products; and we help maintain the patronage of tourists who are drawn to our agricultural environment.
Inspired by Spain’s famous “Running of the Bulls,” Brattleboro’s annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade features scores of heifers ambling up the town’s historic Main Street, along with many, many farmers, future farmers, cows, bulls, horses, goats, poultry, floats, tractors, bands, clowns, and much more. When it’s over, the crowd follows the parade to the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat and enjoys food, music, dancing and fun at the Dairy Festival. The event is held each year on the first weekend in June, which is National Dairy Month. On “Stroll Weekend,” there are also farm-related events on Friday evening, and a farm breakfast and farm tour on Sunday morning.
The Strolling of the Heifers Parade & Festival is consistently rated one of Vermont’s top 10 summer events, and is attended by as many as 45,000 people.”