Children visiting the 153rd Indiana County Fair this summer can get a realistic demonstration of where one of their favorite beverages comes from — without the risk of getting their toes stepped on by a hoof or getting swatted by a tail.
The Indiana County Fair board of directors Thursday introduced the “Incredible Milking Cow” (she doesn’t have a name yet) that will be the new attraction in the fair’s Kiddie Farm.
Ed Nehrig, the fair’s general manager, said the life-size fiberglass replica of a Holstein milk cow is an interactive, educational tool that will help kids learn about milk production and cows in general. Among other facts, she’ll tell kids that if she was real she would weigh 1,400 pounds and eat 40 pounds of food and drink a bathtub-full of water each day.
The new cow replaces a plywood bovine that had been in the Kiddie Farm for years. The new version, Nehrig said, requires a lot less imagination. She’s anatomically correct and kids can milk her. Her “milk” circulates from the pail under her udder back into her body through the base she stands on.
Nehrig said the educational Holstein cost about $8,000. That’s about three to four times the price of a live Holstein cow typically added to Indiana County dairy herds, according to Andrew Sandeen, the dairy educator in Indiana County’s Penn State Cooperative Extension office.
The fair directors thanked the financial sponsors who made the new cow’s acquisition possible. They are the Kiwanis Club of Indiana; state Sen. Don White, R-Indiana; the Allied Milk Producers; the Indiana County Dairy Promotion Committee; the Ray and Sandy Martin family; the Anthony and Vickie Enciso family; and the Ron and Luida Shearer family.
More than 3,000 children each year visit the Kiddie Farm, where they stop at interactive stations to dig for potatoes, collect eggs and learn where other farm foods come from.
This summer’s Indiana County Fair will be Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.
PHOTO: Carson Wells, 7, tested the life-size mechanical cow Thursday evening. He is the son of Nathan and Amy Wells, of Marion Center. (James J. Nestor/Gazette)
This story edited Tuesday, July 14, to include names of all the financial sponsors of the replica cow.