Harvard: More than "Moo-rific" Fun!
Harvard was formed as an agricultural hub with a focus on dairy. It has since grown to include families with generations of history in the area as well as new neighbors seeking a friendly, small-town atmosphere. To celebrate its roots, Harvard hosts Illinois’ most famous and longest running festival—Harvard Milk Days.
This year marks the 67th annual celebration of Harvard Milk Days. The theme, "Moo-Rific Family Fun" summarizes what the festival is all about—families and fun.
A celebration like this doesn’t happen overnight. Michele Bannwolf, Harvard Milk Days general chairman, leads a team of more than 30 committees and 100 volunteeres to bring approximately 100,000 visitors to the town of about 10,000 residents.
"Energy, that renewable energy generated by families coming together with big smiles on their faces, is what Milk Days is all about," Mike Bannwolf, president of Harvard Milk Days says. "Milk Days festival brings folks from around the world. Many are coming home to family and school reunions."
Fun For All
June 6 through 8, activities are many and diverse. The grounds at Milky Way Park open on Thursday with a youth parade.
The Bed Races have companies and clubs getting their teams ready. Big Wheel races put a smile on faces of all ages, and there is entertainment every night. Prince and Princess is a competition where outfits are made outof crepe paper and the best-dressed boy and girl win.
The Queen Coronation is always a big hit as is the parade that features amazing floats, marching bands and attractions. Skinners Amusements presents a carnival, and wrist bands are on sale for rides—not beers. In fact, there’s no alcohol at Milk Days, but there is a drinking contest—the contestants drink milk and the fastest drinker wins.
"The Grilling Competition was new last year, and we had eight teams," says Wanda Marzahl, Milk Days office secretary. "Beef, chicken and pork recipes were prepared on barbeque grills. We expect more entrants and will probably need more judges this year." Marzahl has been the only employee of Milk Days for the past 19 years.
Putting Family in the Community
"Everyone gets involved and has a great time," says Phil Lehman, Vice President of The Harvard State Bank, the oldest bank in the county. Lehman grew up in Harvard and believes the community is growing because of the desire to nurture families. "More of our residents work nearby and are at home more often. That allows time to volunteer and get involved."
Neighbors and businesses are represented in the clubs, churches, Main Street and Chamber of Commerce. All cooperate to make Milk Days and every day in Harvard a fun, family-friendly event.
If this is your first or 67th year to attend Harvard Milk Days, mark your calendar and make time to have plenty of wholesome family fun close to home in McHenry County. For more information visit www.milkdays.com.