History

 of the Dairy Festival

The Hopkins County Dairy Festival is an annual celebration of the rich heritage that we have in Hopkins County, as the dairy industry began in the 1930’s and continues to be our number one agriculture enterprise in our community.  It’s a salute to the hard-working dairy farmers and their families, who contribute so richly to our local economy and quality of life in Hopkins County.

Begun in 1959, The Hopkins County Dairy Festival has observed its Golden Anniversary and is now working on its second half century as talented young ladies compete for the crown of Hopkins County Dairy Festival Queen, hot air balloons grace our skies, and cows are still hand milked beneath the shade trees in the milking contest.  The Dairy Festival Parade winds its way down our  city streets and a 5K run is hosted for those who really utilize milk in their diets, all building to the naming  of the new queen on the night of coronation.

Meanwhile, one of the communities favorite activities is the State Champion Homemade Ice Cream Contest, that brings folks from far and wide to sample the rich goodness of everyone’s favorite summer delight and decide who is the best ice cream maker in the county!

The Hopkins County Dairy Industry began as early settlers came to this land of oppertunity with a family milk cow fastened to the back of the wagon to provide the family with milk, butter and cheese.  She sustained our forfathers and built a fondation that we still enjoy today.  We can only imagine the hardships that fresh churned butter, milk in the sistern and hand cranked ice cream assuaged as the settelers looked forward to a better life.

However, today we can be thankful that the development of the dairy industry was boosted for economic success when the Carnation Milk Company located in Sulphur Springs back in the 1930’s providing an economic outlet for commercial production of milk and dairy products.

As the saying goes, “the rest was history.” Farmers nurtured and established an industry that today boasts of the most modern in technology; comupterized identification, modern milking and cooling systems, speedy transportation of milk for processing and some of the most scientific adaptation of breeding, feeding and recycling known to mankind.

In Hopkins County, we truly have reason to celebrate and count our many, many blessings!

 

Bobby McDonald

Hopkins County Historian