Taylor Schaefer reflects on her year as Alice in Dairyland

Taylor Schaefer
Outgoing Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes, left, passes on her crown to the 75th Alice in Dairyland Taylor Schaefer at the 2023 finale.

The Alice in Dairyland position is unique. The application process itself takes months and is filled with interviews, trainings, and assignments. The excitement continues to build as you approach the Finals, peaking on Saturday night, right before they announce the next Alice in Dairyland. If you’re not selected, you certainly go home disappointed but are grateful for the experience and lessons learned that will benefit you in your future career plans. But if your name is the one that is called that night, the layout of your next 12 months changes in an instant.

Twelve months ago on that memorable night in Dane County, my name was the one called on the stage at the 75th Alice in Dairyland Finale. In just a handful of days, the 76th Alice in Dairyland will have her name called, this year in Walworth County. Each year, a new county hosts the Alice in Dairyland Finals after dedicated committee spends 18 months planning out every detail. Each host county also selects events throughout the year for the current Alice in Dairyland to attend.

My first event was the Walworth County Fair. I started my day with the Draft Horse Parade of Champions, flipping grilled cheese sandwiches at the Walworth County FFA Grill n’ Chill, and scooping ice cream with Farm Bureau members. The All-Breeds Futurity show was a great way to showcase Walworth County’s dairy community, and I enjoyed awarding top honors and speaking with exhibitors following the show. The fair was a great way to kick off my Walworth County events!

Next up was a beautiful Farm to Table meal where we were able to “Taste the Wonders of Walworth County.” Pearce’s Farm Stand served as the host, and guests were treated to a delicious meal featuring a variety of local foods. Proceeds from the event went to support the Finals. I enjoyed sharing my agriculture story, speaking with attendees, and learning more about the county and its agri-tourism locations.

Shortly after, I was back at Pearce’s Farm Stand for their Pumpkin Fest. After a tour of the mum gardens, kitchen, and greenhouse, I had the opportunity to visit with families from across the state and share more about Alice in Dairyland. It was only fitting that I took part in the Pearce Family’s corn maze during my visit, which normally takes around an hour to complete. After getting lost a few too many times, I met a group from Iowa and Texas that graciously helped me find my way.

To kick off the winter holiday season, I visited Country Side Trees in Walworth to cut down the first official Christmas tree of the year, a white pine! It was a beautiful day, and I was able to learn more about what it takes to grow Christmas trees through an interview with the owners. The tree we cut down was then transported to the Walworth Holiday Glow event at the county fairgrounds. It was a chilly night, but we were able to show off the beautifully decorated tree, hand out chocolate chips, and my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with June the Dairy Cow!

In early February, the Host Committee hosted a Galentine’s Day Charcuterie event. Attendees were able to create their own boards with Nailed It DIY Elkhorn Wisconsin while snacking on charcuterie boxes from Whitewater’s Gaze & Graze - Charcuterie throughout the night. I enjoyed sharing tips on how to prepare and display various types of cheeses while also chatting with attendees about my time as Alice in Dairyland thus far.

The next event was the annual Whitewater FFA Alumni Farm Toy Show. I was able to see the intricate farm displays and learn more about how they were created. It’s always wonderful to see the hard work that goes into these farm displays!

My last event before the Finals will be attending a few schools in the area. I will be teaching the students about Wisconsin agriculture and the variety of specialty crops we grow in our state.

The three-day Alice in Dairyland Finals event will be held at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, May 11-13.

This brings us to the three-day Alice in Dairyland Finals event hosted at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva May 11-13. The six top candidates, a panel of judges, and I will be traveling the county, touring businesses and learning about agriculture in the area. The top candidates will have a variety of opportunities to show the judges their skills before the final decision will be made Saturday night.

The public is able to attend two ticketed events, including a Meet the Candidates section and Wisconsin Products Showcase on Friday evening. The second opportunity is the Banquet and Finale on Saturday night, featuring final opportunities for candidates to show off their talents and the announcement of the 76th Alice in Dairyland. Tickets for both of these events are available at and must be purchased in advance.

Taylor Schaefer

Taylor Schaefer is Wisconsin's 75th Alice in Dairyland