Fair Offers Hands-on, Goggles-on Dairy Experiences

Plymouth County fair in northwest Iowa turns round barn into dairy destination for all ages

July 15, 2019, 1:29 pm | Fred M. Hall, Janelle Johnson

LE MARS, Iowa – The Plymouth County Fair will feature a variety of educational dairy and agricultural exhibits for this year’s fair, which runs from July 24-28 in Le Mars.

Tonsfeldt Round Barn on Plymouth County Fair Grounds.One of the highlights will be the Mobile Dairy Classroom, a 40-foot mobile milking exhibit provided by the Southwest Dairy Farmers organization.

Visitors will get to see exactly how milking is done, using the mobile dairy parlor exhibit, which also features a large-screen television to show realistic farm scenes and an educational slide show.

“It really is an impactful program for youth,” said Fred Hall, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Hall said the fair staff and the staff with ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County are making significant strides to highlight the dairy industry during this year’s fair.

“Discover Dairy” is the theme for this year’s exhibits, which include the Tonsfeldt Round Barn. The barn will be decorated in a way that gives visitors the experience of stepping inside a new carousal-style milking parlor installed at Perry Creek Dairy, located west of Le Mars.

Life-size photos will illustrate the modern way of milking, from a parlor in which the carousel rotates.

The Plymouth County FFA is also organizing educational exhibits inside the barn, explaining the importance of different dairy products, how they’re processed and prepared, and their nutritional value.

The fair will also feature a butter sculpture of the Tonsfeldt Round Barn, created by Sarah Pratt, known as “the butter lady,” and the same artist who creates the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair.

In addition, visitors can put on a pair of specially equipped goggles that give the participant a virtual tour of a local dairy farm, including the milking parlor, holding pens, feed and more. The 3-D tour is provided by the Siouxland Ag in the Classroom and area FFA chapters.

The 3-D tour will be available Thursday through Sunday (July 25-28), beginning at 6 p.m. inside the round barn.

“Since Le Mars is known as the ‘Ice Cream Capital of the World,’ it seemed only appropriate to showcase the region’s dairy processors, and dairy producers,” said Jordan Sitzmann, vice president for the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce-Agriculture Division.

The event is sponsored by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, which includes ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County.

Learn more about the Plymouth County Fair and events online. Janelle Johnson, program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach in Plymouth County, can be reached at 712-546-7835 or janelle@iastate.edu.


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