Timing and the lack of manpower contributed to the decision to this year suspend Fayetteville and Lincoln County’s Annual June Dairy Day celebration, traditionally held on the first Saturday of June on the city square.
The event got its start in 1984 with Fayetteville’s Christine Sullivan organizing the first June Dairy Day celebration here – she organized the event for 26 years, before passing the torch to the Young Farmers and Ranchers’ organization here. Then last year, local FFA chapters were asked to organize the event, which they did. Across the years, many individuals and organizations have helped in holding the event.
However, with other school and chapter events at each of the local high schools, the task of planning the 2019 event proved too difficult.
“This year, while we attempted to begin planning earlier, our school and chapter events proved far busier than we could balance, with planning a community-wide event,” said Julie Burnum, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Riverside Christian Academy, one of the schools involved. “We, the FFA chapters, felt it best to cancel the event instead of not living up to the expectations of our community with a partially planned event.
“It is our hope that other community organizers would come alongside us next year and help us to organize the event during the month of June,” she continued. “With the onset of spring, members of the agriculture industry are busy working in our fields on fair weather days.”
Important to the national and local economy, the dairy industry has experienced a tremendous amount of challenges in the past year, Burnum noted, adding that those pressures have certainly been felt here locally. Lincoln County has only three or four dairy farms remaining. Dairy Day was established to promote the industry and celebrate the contributions of local dairies, all those 36 years ago. Outside of the pageants, participation in the annual celebration here locally has decreased in recent years.
“Certainly, when we are both educator/students and farm families, it makes the timing of Dairy Day a very difficult task,” Burnum added. “We hate that we felt the need to make this decision, but ultimately, it came down to time and availability of manpower to work the whole day event.”