"Jump with Jill!", the world's only rock and roll nutrition show, will take center stage at this year's Great Dairy Adventure scheduled for July 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Michigan State University (MSU) Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing. The touring live production will bring its catchy tunes and upbeat dance moves to six 15-minute interactive performances every half hour between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the classroom auditorium.
The 17th annual family-oriented and volunteer-operated educational event is a fun family outing and a popular field trip destination for many summer children's programs. There is no admission fee to attend the Great Dairy Adventure, and parking is free.
Attendees will want to bring their cameras and smartphones to take pictures posing with family and friends at a "selfie" milk mustache photo booth, which replaces the former group picture area. MSU athletes will also be on site for autographs and to pose for photos.
There will be plenty of free, nutritious and refreshing dairy treats including ice cream and milk, and participants will be able to make and eat cheese "bugs". Kids 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.
"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 animal science event and program manager. "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."
Attendees will have numerous chances to interact with real Michigan dairy farmers at the various displays and educational stations and ask questions about how food gets from the farm to their tables, as well as visit one-on-one with MSU large animal veterinary students during hands-on activities with cows.
From touching and smelling the feeds that cows eat to watching a realistic video about robotic milking units (the latest milking technology available and currently being used by nearly 50 dairy farms in Michigan) and sitting on an antique tractor, there will be a variety of take-home projects, hands-on activities and interactive educational stations suitable for kids of all ages.
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.
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 21-25, 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.milkmeansmore.org.