Shortly after arriving to our new area in Southern Vermont near the town of Brattleboro, I heard about this event called the Strolling of the Heifers where cows walk down Main Street. It’s a really big thing.
This brought me so much joy.
After traveling around Southeast Asia for the past year and telling people how and why we love Vermont, learning about the Strolling of the Heifers affirmed everything.
This event is so big there is an entire office space for it in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. You can buy tshirts, mugs, bags, cookbooks and a Pete Seeger poster.
Vermont has a strong dairy history and the act of farming is a role many people admire. Vermonters love to buy local. So it’s only natural that Vermonters love to show off their cows.
I wasn’t going to miss this event and now neither do you. 😉 So pull up a parade chair, grab a free balloon when they come by you and get ready for the parade.
Here come the Strolling of the Heifers:
Let the parade begin – here comes the Strolling of the Heifers!
Moo – Over – Even the buses got into the spirit.
Hundreds of hard working farmers get up before sunrise every single day to run and operate their family farms.
Even the priest comes out to walk a cow down Main Street.
People staked out their prime positions along the sidewalk a long time before the parade started.
NOFA is the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont working to support organic farmers and make healthy food more available to all people.
If you don’t have your own real cows – just make a cow.
Or better yet – follow this kids move and just kid pulled along in your mini-John Deer. This kid is like I’m having the coolest day ever. (Side note: I love the drooping inflatable guitar in the background.)
A couple of oxen cousins showed up too. Which by the way – those oxen were so well trained. The man spoke soft words and moved along with them and those ox just did whatever he said.
Then came the cows all dressed up. I think this might have been the Bernie Sanders cow! 🙂
All sorts of people participated in different ways in the parade.
Groups of all types supporting fairness, anti-discrimination, knowing your neighbors, showing kindness to everyone and supporting local farming participated in the parade.
This was the Brattleboro Co-Op’s expression of supporting local and saying no to plastic bags.
Yes, this is the event where adults dress up in full display cow costumes and push pigs in pink tu tus down the road in a stroller. People loved it!
This was my favorite photo. I think it summed up the whole feeling of the day:
Farmers love their cows.
This happened all day – people hugged cows. After the parade most of the farmers and their cows hung out in this city park area. People of all ages kept going up and asking to pet the cows and hug them. These cows just stood there while munching on hay like this was a normal everyday event.
The Strolling of the Heifers has become a beloved tradition where it’s the one time of the year farmers can dress their cows up in tu tus and show them off by walking down main street. You know, it’s a Vermont thing. 😉
The crowds were going wild and the atmosphere was so positive. People kept yelling out, “I love your cows! They are so beautiful! We love local farms! Buy local! Can I pet your cow!”
Because the thing is, farming goes back way in time. Whether or not you feel connected to your food, we each eat food everyday. Somewhere, someone is out there working hard to cultivate, care for and hopefully nurture animals in an ethical and humane environment.
Farming may be an ancient tradition, but these young folks put their own new age artistic twist on the Strolling of the Heifers.
This is one day to dress up and celebrate all the amazing products cows give us. I certainly love ice cream!
We might all have different passions and beliefs about this world and life, but essentially we are all marching to the same beat. At the end of the day each person still needs clean air, water and food.
(Which side note – I just want to point out this Vermont High School marching band was quite talented and look how many were wearing flannel! I thought that was so rad. Vermonters know how to rock the flannel and if you want to get some your own, check out the one and only Vermont Flannel Co.)
You can also pick yourself up a Strolling of the Heifers tshirt next time you are in town or check out this cool cow shirt too.
The bottom line is the Strolling of the Heifers is a fun time for farmers to show off how every day, rain or shine, they are walking the walk (in awesome shoes) to bring amazing products in our homes.
So if you did eat today, thank a farmer. Thank them even more by buying local.
Until then, thanks farmers, we’ll see you next year! 🙂
Why these events matter:
As more and more of us become removed from our food sources, events like this remind us just how and what is producing some of our favorite products: milk, cream, cheese, ice cream. At the Strolling of the Heifers, walking in front of all of us is some cow that had just been brushed, petted, loved and was being led by boys and girls, men and women and people of all walks of life. To me it’s a reminder that we are all sharing this journey of life together.
Just imagine what the world would be like if all the cows in the world could be dressed in tu-tu’s and casually walk down Main Street? That is the world I want to live in.
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