Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 7, 2012

Cow Crazy

Mural in beautiful downtown Elsie, Michigan’s Dairy Capital


I like cows. I like taking pictures of cows. I’ll even take a picture of a picture of a cow. I have three little plastic cows on my desk. The first art tiles I purchased many years ago featured cows by Ellie Hudovernik, a ceramic artist from Wisconsin, a great cow state.

The Dairy Barn was always a stop on our annual trip to the late, dearly-missed Michigan State Fair. We’d have our fill of chocolate milk for 25 cents and stroll through to look at the big creatures and displays promoting Michigan dairy farms.

Sometimes the kids would bravely approach the gruff-looking farmer who sat on a stool in the same spot every year and tried to help city and suburban kids squeeze a dribble of milk from a patient cow. I wonder if that farmer misses the annual exercise now that we have no State Fair in Detroit. I doubt the cow misses it.

My cow-crazy moooooves include a detour to the mid-Michigan town of Elsie, which holds an annual Dairy Festival (July 5-7, 2012) and a tour of the Udderly Delightful Country Dairy in New Era.

The Amazing Colantha

On my milking bucket list:
the Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival in Traverse City, which recognizes the “historic accomplishments” of one special “cow with the wow!”

The third annual celebration takes place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, June 10 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a former mental asylum-turned-mixed use development.

The 500-acre hospital complex, which operated from 1885 to 1989, had its own farm and farm animals including a herd of 96 Holstein-Friesians, Colantha among them. While an average cow produces 3,918 lbs. of milk per year Colantha, in 1926, produced a world record 22,918 lbs. Her total output, from 1916 until her death in 1932, was 200,114 lbs. of milk and 7,525 lbs. of butter fat.

Colantha’s gravestone (provided photo)

The staff and patients were so mad about the cow that when she died they honored her with a banquet, buried her on the asylum grounds, and marked the site with a substantial gravestone.

Colantha Festivities include a pancake breakfast, arts & crafts show, fitness fair and live music.

Everyone is invited to march in the one-mile, round-trip parade to Colantha’s gravesite at noon on Sunday.

Treats that Colantha would be proud of include locally produced Moomer’s ice cream, wine & cheese sampling, milk & cookie pairings and, at 3 p.m., The Great Grilled Cheese Grill-off.

Sounds like dairy good time!

Visitor Info Clicks:

Traverse City

Pure Michigan

In the dairy barn at the long-gone Michigan State Fair



  1. Great post! I would also encourage anyone in the Lansing area to consider a visit to the MSU dairy farm. MSU has a dairy farm, sheep farm, beef farm, swine farm, poultry farm, and horse farm, all open to the public year round. At the dairy farm, there is a great self-guided tour. You can get up-close to the cows and view the milking parlor. It’s great for kids and families.

    • Okay, it’s on my milking bucket list! Followed by a stop at the dairy store for a scoop of that famous MSU ice cream.

  2. […] Cow! I just wrote about how I’m Cow Crazy and now I find that throughout June, in honor of National Dairy Month, Kroger is giving away […]

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