Dairy Fest Kicks Off Friday With Opening Ceremony, Hot Air Balloons

Hopkins County Dairy Festival opening ceremony

The Hopkins County Dairy Festival kicked off Friday with an opening ceremony, complete with ribbon cutting. A representative from Sentator Bob Hall’s office sent certificates “extending most sincere congratulations” on the opening ceremony which commemorates the the festival’s 60th anniversary.

Opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the 60th annual Hopkins County Dairy Festival

Recognized was Lynda Hager, who not only has been involved with the Dairy Festival for a long time, but has been a member of the Dairy Festival Board of Directors for 55 of the event’s 60 years.

To honor that commitment, Hagar has been named grand marshal for the Dairy Festival Parade, which is scheduled to depart at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, from Buford Park, down Houston Street to Church Street, past the square and out Gilmer/South Broadway Street to Lee Street.

“It’s been fun every year. We have a great board that stays here and keep working on it. It’s a working board,” Hager said.

She said the honor of being asked to lead the parade as grand marshal is “so special.”

Hopkins County Dairy Festival Board President Carolyn McKinney (right) introduces a representative from Senator Bob Hall’s office to Lynda Hager, who will serve as this year’s parade grand marshal. Hager has been on the HCDF Board for 55 years.

Hager said the festival has seen many changes over the years. For instance, the props used during the annual HCDF Queen’s Pageant and Coronation were once all made locally. Now, many of them are rented for cost and efficiency. Also, the floats once were 40 feet long. They’re smaller of late so that they can be constructed and stored in home garages until they’re ready to make their way to the park for the procession.

Opening events started with the Hot Air Balloons Media Fight at 6 a.m. Friday and weather permitting, will continue with the Hot Air Balloon Rally and Glow from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight (June 7) at Shannon Oaks Church on East Shannon Road. Check it out here:

A Hot Air Balloon Rally and Flight will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., and at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at Shannon Oaks Church.

Hopkins County Dairy Festival 2018 Queen and 2019 candidates welcome the community to the annual festival and invite them to Friday and Saturday’s Hot Air Balloon Rally and Glow.

The Dairy Festival will include a Jr. Dairy Show at 10 a.m. and Milking Contest at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at Hopkins County Civic Center Arena.

A Texas Championship Ice Cream Freeze Off will be hosted for the first time by Shannon Oaks Church, competitors will bring canisters filled with their homemade confections to the rear of the church at 1113 Shannon Road at 5:30 p.m. Once all samples have been taken for judging and competitors are in place, ice cream will be served to the general public. For $5 get a container and spoon, and feel free to sample as many of the entries as desired as long as supplies last. And, anyone interested in testing their recipe against others’ is welcome; simply complete the entry form which can be downloaded from shannonoakschurch.org, and bring your entry on time to the event. There’s no entry fee.

The Dairy Festival will continue Wednesday-Saturday, June 12-15, for the annual carnival, to be held on the Civic Center grounds. The Whipped Challenge will begin with check-in at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at Hopkins County Heritage Park and culminates in the Coronation Pageant at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center Auditorium.

Author: Faith Huffman

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