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September 26, 2021

7/27/2021 11:39:00 AM
New venue hopes to draw more to Farmers Appreciation Day

For many years of Farmers Appreciation Day parades the streets in downtown Dodgeville were lined with lawn chairs, many of them put out the night before.
While the crowds for the parade have steadily increased the number of people who made their way to Harris Park for the rest of the celebration did not. So this year the Farmers Appreciation Committee decided to try something new.
Instead of Harris Park and Ley Pavillion the venue will be the parking lot at the Iowa County Courthouse. That area is no stranger to events as it has been the site of Bluesfest and then  Dodgefest until the pandemic shut down both Dodgefest and Farmers Appreciation Day last year.
The good news is that the events made popular over the years are now back.
One of the chairpersons, Melissa (Doyle) Jacobson feels the change should allow people attending the parade to attend the events that accompany the parade without having to leave the downtown area.
The courthouse parking lot venue will open at 10 a.m. with food products available for purchase to enjoy during the parade. Food vendors include Dodgeville Kiwanis (brats, hot dogs), Iowa County Farm Bureau (steak sandwiches), Dodgeville Lions Club (cheese curds), Upland Hills Health (pies), Dodgeville Food Locker (sweet treats), Dodge Theatre (popcorn), Little Wolf Farms (coffee and tea), 4-H clubs (ice cream and soda).
The kids will not be forgotten as their are many fun events planned such as pedal pulls and face painting. There will also be a petting zoo operated by the Dodgeville FFA.
Other events are cheese and milk sampling with donations from area cheesemakers and businesses,
An added event this year wil be the Kiwanis Cops 'n Kids book distribution where a child can receive two free books for talking with a police officer.
Add to that live music by the Adam Bartels Band, recognition of Parade Marshalls, Iowa County Land Conservation awards and the announcement of Iowa County Farmers Appreciation Day scholarship winners.
The entire event will run from 10 am to 2 p.m.
Jacobson notes that there will be handicap accessible parking available in the courthouse lot and the BMO Harris parking lot.
She adds that the parade will be different this year with the following route. The route will proceed down Iowa Street, turn left at Dino's on Diagonal Street, continue right on to Main Street and then turn left on West Spring Street and end by Piggly Wiggly.
Melissa joined the FAD committee in 2014 when the group was looking for "new blood and new ideas." She began serving while a member of the Farm Bureau Executive Committee and now works for Farm Bureau.
"When I was a kid I always looked forward to Farmers Appreciation and I, along with co-chair Krista Dolan, still do," Melissa said. "I also was asked by Ken Von Rueden to enter the hog calling contest and a couple times I won it.  Those are great memories."
She adds that she and Krista have farm backgrounds and are still involved with the family farm.
"We are hoping there will be more people visiting the event site now that it is downtown," Melissa reaffirms. "Many groups have worked hard to provide something to see and we hope the people come out and enjoy it."
Daily updates can be found on or the Farmers Appreciation Day Facebook page.

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