June events highlight dairy heritage
WALWORTH — June is well known as dairy month, and the Stateline is celebrating with a variety of events honoring all things dairy as well as our agriculture heritage.
Rock, Walworth and Boone-Winnebago counties will host dairy breakfasts in the next few weeks, and Wisconsin's Alice in Dairyland paid a visit to the area just last week.
Teyanna Loether, the 68th Alice in Dairyland, stopped in southwest Walworth County on May 26 in a visit that began at Don Hoey's third-grade class at Walworth Elementary School.
In her 45-minute presentation, Loether quizzed the students on the names of cheeses and other agricultural products produced in the state.
She also gave students a poster and information on nutrition to take home to their families.
Loether then went over to Caitlin Dowden and Cori Niemuth's third-grade classroom for another presentation.
For lunch, Loether made an unscheduled stop at the Darien Ice Cream Shoppe, where she sampled ice cream with a group of women who arrived from Golden Years of Walworth.
Loether, of Sauk City, is coming to the end of her one-year tour as Alice.
Ann O'Leary of Evansville was chosen as the next Alice in Dairyland during the annual banquet held last month.
O'Leary was picked after three days of events in Dodge County, including agribusiness tours, speeches, a public question-and-answer session and media interviews.
Despite not growing up on a farm, O'Leary was heavily involved in the Rock County Junior Holstein Association and the Rock County 4-H program. She graduated from Carthage College in 2014 with degrees in biology and neuroscience.
For those interested in learning more about the dairy industry, three long-running breakfasts are set to take place.
The Walworth County Dairy Breakfast will be held from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 18, at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 E. Court St. in Elkhorn.
The breakfast will include scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, milk, juice, coffee, strawberries and ice cream. The event will include live music, antique tractor displays, children's rides and exhibit booths.
Richard Adams, director for the Walworth County Farm Bureau Board, said the breakfast gives people an opportunity to learn more about the dairy industry.
“It's a way for people to come out from the city and say hi to the farmers,” Adams said. “It's a social event, plus you can have strawberries and ice cream for breakfast.”
The event also will include tours of Nel Farm near Elkhorn.
“It's a way to honor and recognize the family farm and their heritage,” Adams said.
About 2,000 people attend the breakfast each year.
The cost to attend is $7 in advance and $8 at the gate. Children 5 years and younger are free. The proceeds are used for scholarships for students studying agriculture.
“It goes back into the community,” Adams said. “It's a lot of fun. It's great food and good people.”
For more information, call 262-723-2613 or go to dairydaysofsummer.com.
For the Rebout family, hosting the Rock County Dairy Breakfast has come full circle. The family hosted the first Rock County Dairy Breakfast in 1976 and they are hosting the breakfast again 40 years later.
“We're glad to do it again,” Doug Rebout said.
The breakfast will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the Roger Rebout & Sons Farm, 5606 Mineral Point Road, which is west of Janesville.
During the past few months, Rebout and his family have been doing painting, cleaning and landscaping work to prepare the farm for visitors.
“It's been busy, but it's an honor to host it,” Rebout said.
The event will feature an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, children's games, wagon rides, farm equipment displays, craft items and tours of the farm.
The purpose of the breakfast is to help promote the dairy industry and to give people an opportunity to learn how a family farm operates, Rebout said.
“I hope people come out and see what we do and how we do it,” he said. “We're going to have experts here, so people can come out and ask questions and see what we do on the farm.”
Sandy Larson, chairwoman for the Rock County Dairy Breakfast, said about 5,000 people attend the breakfast each year.
“People really want to come out and see what (the farmers) do,” Larson said. “A lot of people come year after year. Some people attend multiple breakfasts each year.
“A lot of people like the wagon rides. A lot of people like to see the cows up close. It's a chance for people to see a farm and participate.”
Rebout said he attends the breakfast each year to see how other farms are operated.
“I enjoy seeing other farms and seeing how other farmers do things, because we all do things differently,” Rebout said. “I enjoy talking to people, which is a big part of it for me.”
The cost for breakfast is $6 for adults and $2 for children 10 years and younger. For more information, call 608-290-5545 or go to dairydaysofsummer.com.
“We use some of the money for food scholarships. We use it to host dairy programs,” Larson said.
South of the border
Todd Aves and his family were supposed to host the Winnebago-Boone County Farm Bureau Foundation Farm Breakfast last year, but Mother Nature had other plans.
The family farm was damaged by the tornado that ripped through in April 2015. The tornado destroyed two machine sheds, a garage and portions of a dairy barn. The family has since rebuilt.
The farm breakfast will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the Aves Dairy Farm, 1105 Pearl Street Road in Belvidere.
Besides the food, the event will include live music, children's activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, craft items, antique tractor displays and cow pie bingo.
“The goal is for families to come out and see a farm,” said Ann Marie Cain, manager of the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau. “So many people are removed from the farms that they don't know what it's like. It's a way for people to visit a farm and bring the family.”