Families, summer camps, daycare providers and kids of all ages (and young at heart) will want to head to Michigan State University (MSU) on July 17 for the 16th annual Great Dairy Adventure.
The event runs from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education located on the MSU campus on Farm Lane between Mt. Hope and Forest roads.
There is no admission fee to attend the Great Dairy Adventure, and parking is free.
In addition to enjoying a variety of free dairy treats, children of all ages can take their turn milking a cow by hand, petting calves, experimenting with dairy recipes and creating craft projects, all while learning about cows, dairy farming and the importance of consuming dairy products as part of a healthy lifestyle.
MSU athletes will also be on site for autographs and to pose for milk mustache photos, and attendees will be able to visit one-on-one with MSU large animal veterinary students during hands-on activities with cows.
Attendees will have numerous chances to interact with real Michigan dairy farmers at the various displays and educational stations and can ask questions about how food gets from the farm to their tables.
New on display this year will be a robotic milking unit. Great Dairy Adventure attendees will have a chance to see and ask questions about the latest milking technology available and currently being used by nearly 30 dairy farms in Michigan.
"Our hope is that event attendees leave the event with a better understanding of the importance of including dairy products as part of a balanced diet," said Carla McLachlan, MSU event and program manager. McLachlan added, "In addition to sharing information about the multi-step journey milk takes from the farm to our refrigerators, we will be putting a face on the ones who care for the cows 365 days a year to make sure we are producing and delivering a safe and wholesome product to consumers."
Parents and people who work with children will receive nutrition education materials offering simple ideas for teaching kids about the importance of including three servings of dairy in their daily diets.
They will also receive tips on adding physical activity to their daily routine to help develop stronger bones as part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone is encouraged to bring a camera to capture memories in the making.
The Great Dairy Adventure is part of the state's largest annual dairy event, the Michigan Dairy Expo, a five-day event that brings together young people from across the state to compete in different contests.
Youth compete in breed shows and showmanship contests; vie for awards in dairy cattle evaluation, quiz bowls and management contests; sell or purchase dairy animals; network with friends and industry colleagues; and celebrate the dairy industry.
Winners of the youth contests earn an opportunity to represent the state at national contests later in the year.
Additionally, dairy producers from across the state compete in open class breed shows organized by the Michigan Purebred Dairy Cattle Association. This year's expo takes place July 15-19, and all activities take place at the MSU pavilion.
For more information about the Great Dairy Adventure or the Michigan Dairy Expo, contact Carla McLachlan at 517-432-5402.
To learn more about dairy farming and the benefits of consuming dairy products as part of a healthy diet, visit www.michigan