Dairy Palooza 2024

Ms. Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Program Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The classic movie line says, “If you build it, they will come.” And the Canfield fairgrounds did just that! During months of planning, the 2024 version of Dairy Palooza was held in the new event center, and the hospitality was nothing short of spectacular. In the past 13 years, the committee has transformed a grass roots idea into a major educational opportunity for all dairy 4-Hers.

In representation, there were 22 counties in attendance and a family from New York even came to learn! Nearly 300 attendees of all ages were actively engaged in programs for all ages and interests.

The morning registration was efficient and timely as each participant collected a Buckeye Scarlet and Gray rope halter and a digital thermometer. Each had a significant role in the morning’s QA training. With a bountiful supply of donuts to sweeten any wait time, the crowd enjoyed plenty of conversation.

The morning sessions included quality assurance (QA) training being taught by Extension educators Ashlee Meardith, Katie Cole, and Beth Smith.  As part of the rotation, there was also time focused on writing thank yous to the multiple sponsors. They were further honored by their own banners hung for all to see in the main area.

Lunch was served! Pizza and complimentary milk shakes were on the menu.  However, the group photo was a captured moment as each attendee took time to sign our new mascot, “Polly Palooza” and slip on their souvenir t-shirts.

With programs in hand, everyone made their first choice of 4 separate sessions. Each had a suggested level of Junior, Intermediate, or Senior. The program was cleverly crafted with skill and catchy titles.

There was a line-up of cattle represented by every breed and attendees of the showmanship and clipping and fitting programs had actual demonstrations. Other options included a veterinarian with a “how to “session on injections, herdsmanship and the basics, and another on science fun with dairy foods. If feeding and nutrition was what suited your needs, selecting “Cow Chow” made sense. An area of great interest was the actual reproductive tracts and training on AI. Other sessions included information on goats and dairy feeders. Even adults had their own topics that addressed current issues. Then there was the excitement and business of the Cloverbuds! Eventually, they became their own dairy superheroes in red capes. A Quiz Bowl group even set up a quick round of questions as they buzzed in with answers related to the good production practices (GPPs) taught.

As the afternoon concluded, there was an outstanding conclusion to the day! Cow cookies were the special treat as the committee was formally introduced, but this year we honored Mike Janik who has worked tirelessly and even more so this year as the event made its way back to his home county.  A special plaque was presented to him amidst a round of applause. 

Then the drawings served as a farewell for all as one lucky fellow won the new hand-crafted show box. As the crowd slowly said their good-byes, there was a genuine sense of accomplishment for all ages in whatever reason brought them to Dairy Palooza.

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