Some mysteries are difficult to explain; others are easy.
When I first heard of Brattleboro, Vermont's annual Strolling of the Heifers, I was perplexed. Was this some sort of Quaalude-inspired version of the Running of the Bulls? Turns out it isn't. It's a celebration of all things agricultural, happens every first weekend in June and kicks off National Dairy Month.
According to a passage in the forthcoming Vermont Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities and Other Curiosities by Robert F. Wilson with photographs by Victoria Blewer (in bookstores in September from Globe Pequot Press), the parade features “100 flower-laden Holstein and Jersey cows – and occasionally a Guernsey or two – making their way down Main Street to a cheering crowd, followed by draft horses, tractors, jugglers, clowns, fire eaters... But it wouldn’t be a dairy festival without a milking contest, music by the Heifer Brass Quartet (and at least a dozen other jazz and classical groups), a Dairy Princess Pageant, and a Royal Farmers Feast and Farm Tour.”
It all starts here in Brattleboro on Friday, June 6 with a Gallery Walk at 5:15 p.m. that celebrates Women in Agriculture and is accompanied by the closing of Main Street between Elliot and High streets for a little dancing as fresco. The parade kicks off Saturday, June 7 at 10 a.m., goes down Main Street and is followed by a host of events at the Brattleboro Retreat and other locations around town.
If you haven't been to Brattleboro, this is a great weekend to get the flavor of this agricultural state: milk, cheese, ice cream. Yum.
And stop in at Mystery on Main Street to say hello. We don't have any books about cows, but you can pick up a copy of Three Bags Full, the tale of a flock of sheep who set out to solve the murder of their shepherd. It, too, is a wild and wooly time.
For more information, go to: http://www.strollingoftheheifers.org