Cow-abundance! Embarrassment of riches in store for Dairy Fest
From Staff Reports

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of occasional articles by the 2007 Dairy Festival Board of Directors on planning for the annual salue to the dairy industry.)

Feb. 4, 2007 - Dairy Festival 2007 has kicked off with a flurry of activity. The hot air balloons are reserving their spots, the candidates for Dairy Festival Queen are entering, the little kids are planning their "mini-floats," and businesses and organizations have been contacted for their tremendous participation again this year.

2006 brought us a record 214 entries in the famous parade, and floats were judged for first  second and third places in two categories: commercial and general organization. The six  winners from last year's parade will defend their places, and with all other entries will vie for this year's coveted Sweepstakes Trophy, which the winner will be able to display at their business or organization for the 2007-2008 Festival Year.

The balloons make their first flight Friday, June 8, at 6:30 p.m. and will be here all that first Festival weekend. There will be lots of information about the balloons and all Festival activities, so you will know when and where to go to participate and observe. Please contact Pam Black at 903-439-4327 if your organization or business would like to sponsor and/or volunteer to help.  Dairy Festival has become a favorite for balloonists, and already 30 hot air balloons have signed up! By volunteering to supply crew or provide sponsorships, our community can demonstrate our support and appreciation. These balloonists come here free of charge, happy to share their beautiful flying creations, most of which cost well over $50,000.

The Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 9. Please contact Mike Blount at 903-885-7729 or Terry Blount at 348-5455 to register your entry.

Leading the Parade will be the reigning Dairy Festival Queen, Miss Katie Watson, regally atop her stunning silver and white float, which she and her family, David and Myra Watson, have completely refurbished this year.

�Also on Saturday, June 9, is the Annual 5K run. Please call Brett Bassham at 903-885-8345 to register. This event occurs first on Saturday morning, and participants have included children as young as 4 years old, with many runners from out of state.

� The Third Annual Dairy Foods Show and Contest is for folks of all ages and is under the direction of Extension Agent Johanna Hicks (903-885-3443) on Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. Not only do the winners receive prizes and awards, but every participant receives a cookbook with all of that year's entered recipes. Make sure to take time to get a look at those cheesecakes!

�The Third Annual Horseshoe Pitching Contest will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the Civic Center grounds on Saturday, June 16. Look for more contact and entering information in the future.

�The Junior Dairy Show and the 4-H Project Show are both happening on Saturday, June 16, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Civic Center. Please call 4-H Extension Agent Larry Spradlin at 903-885-3443 for information. This event is a significant showcase for our youth involved in wholesome activities; and, the projects that are fashioned by these young people are remarkable. Come see and support our youth!

�For� Parents of "Little Kids" (ages 3-5), please call Patricia Chase at 903-348-2117 to receive information regarding the parade ("mini-floats") and pageant participation. We request a boy-girl pair dressed in theme costumes and riding in/on an approved mini-float (usually a golf cart or small trailer that is decorated to reflect the theme).

�To enter the Ice Cream Freeze-Off, to be held Saturday, June 9, at 4 p.m., please call Chamber of Commerce representative Linda Henton, at 903-885-7523. This event is also growing in size and reputation, and has been a nationally televised feature on the Food Network. This delicious homemade concoction goes quickly, so get there early so you can eat all you want, with the "all you can eat" bowls that are sold by the Chamber.

�The theme for this year's festival is "Moo-niversities." (Aren't we clever? How do we come up with such witty themes every year?) This theme will be characterized in university logos, sports, colors, and mascot depictions throughout the Festival activities. The theme will also be represented in individual parade entries, including the Little Kids' "mini-floats" and their costumes, and for the stage decorations during the pageant.

Finally, the Pageant is on Saturday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center This is the signature event of the festival, and has always been a "big deal" for the candidates, who have been looking forward to being in the pageant and the festival activities. This Festival and Pageant is celebrating its 48^th year! Look for a grand golden anniversary celebration in 2009! (Sounds far away, but it will be here before we know it!) Interested Hopkins County junior girls, please call Cindy Lancaster at 903-885-8483 to receive an information packet.

�Tickets for the Pageant will be available from Dairy Festival Candidates. The candidates will be out in the community during April and May to sell tickets. Even if you are not able to attend the fabulous pageant, please support the entire Dairy Festival by purchasing tickets from the candidates.

The Officers for the 2007 - 2008 Festival are: President - Patricia Chase; Vice-President - Terry Blount; Secretary - Gena Prickette; Treasurer - David McCaig; Pam Black - Director of Balloons; and Lynda Hager - Pageant Director.

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