June is National Dairy Month! With its 150-year tradition of agricultural excellence, Billings Farm & Museum will pay tribute to their beautiful herd of Jersey dairy cows and spotlight the delicious Billings Farm cheese made from their milk. On June 25 & 26, Dairy Celebration comes to the farm with cow fitting and grooming programs, judging clinics, ricotta cheese and butter making demonstrations, and the Youth Invitational Showmanship and Dairy Show.
The two-day Dairy Celebrations offers visitors a chance to delve into Vermont’s rich dairy history and to learn all about dairy production and products. Guests can meet the Jersey herd, brush a heifer, and take a photo with one of the cows. Families can view ricotta cheese and butter making demonstrations. Children can get creative and make a paper bag Jersey Cow puppet. There will be delicious samples of Billings Farm Butter, Smoked, and Woodstock Reserve Cheddar Cheeses, available for purchase at the Museum Gift Shop.
On Saturday, June 25th there will be judging clinics featuring the Billings Farm herd, with programs conducted by the judges. Guests will learn about showmanship and what aspects make the most favorable impression on the judges. The judging criteria includes the animal’s attractiveness and presentation, as well as the exhibitor’s handling, and the way the animal carries herself in the showring with her head held high.
Also on Saturday, guests will get a behind-the-scenes glance at cattle care and grooming, as youth from local 4H groups prepare to compete in the Youth Invitational Dairy Show on Sunday, June 26. The animals receive an impressive full body makeover by their young handlers who wash, brush, blow dry, clip and groom their show cows. On Sunday, exhibitors will have the chance to show off their cows and the hard work behind preparing cattle for show. At 10:30AM, youth will compete for showmanship awards and scholarships to be presented in three categories with one overall winner. The Youth Invitational Dairy Show will follow at 12PM. From 11AM- 4PM on Sunday, guests can mix chemistry, art, and fun with interactive giant bubble making led by The Billings Farm Artist in Residence, Margaret Dwyer.
Guests will enjoy live music with the harmony and hip shaking sounds of the Rose Hip Jam Band from 12PM – 3PM on Saturday. There will be food trucks on site throughout the weekend. On Saturday Martha’s On a Roll Food Truck will be serving bistro sandwiches and gourmet melts from 11AM-4PM. What better way to celebrate dairy than with a cool, Vermont-made ice cream for purchase at the Farmhouse Café.
After seeing the young 4H group members preparing their cows for showing on Saturday, guests are encouraged to return on Sunday to see them compete in the Youth Invitational Dairy Show. Half price admission is available on Sunday by showing a Saturday admission receipt. Advance full price tickets are available online every day, so guests can purchase tickets now for Dairy Days. The Sunday discount is only available in person.
Dairy Week continues June 27 – July 1 with an exhibition of historic photographs and artifacts from the museum’s collections that tell the story of the dairy legacy at Billings Farm. There will be daily programs with Meet a Jersey Cow at 11AM and 2PM, a children’s story time at 12PM and 4PM, Meet our Sheep at 1PM and 3PM, and a Milking Demonstration in the Cow Barn at 3:15 – 5:00PM. Families can enjoy finding the cow stuffies hidden among the Farm Life Exhibits and follow the Story Walk featuring “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper. Page by page, the story unfolds on signs along the pasture fence.
The Billings Farm Volunteer Program is a way to make meaningful connections with the Billings community. Volunteers make new friends, share their enthusiasm for farming, rural life, gardening, and history, and learn new skills. There are shifts available from 9AM – 1PM or 1PM – 5PM during Dairy Celebration. Volunteers will greet guests, facilitate Jersey Cow puppet crafts, or give out Billings Farm Cheese samples. To get involved, please visit billingsfarm.org/volunteer/.