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This spring thousands of people were able to get hands-on experience learning how their favorite dairy foods journey from the farm to their table by visiting the Dairy Discovery Zone (DDZ) exhibit. Traveling thousands of miles between festivals, stock shows and rodeos held in Colorado and Texas, the DDZ was able to create memories with over 150,000 fans of all ages through interactive dairy education and entertainment...better known as edutainment.
Kicking off 2023 in Colorado, the DDZ joined the 117th annual National Western Stock Show held January 7-22. The 16-day event is one of Colorado’s preeminent tourist destinations and largest agricultural trade show reaching 700,000 in total attendance. This year the DDZ was positioned in Stadium Hall below the Ag Adventure area allowing 3,000 students to tour and interact with the exhibit and close to 30,000 National Western fans overall. National Western is home to a wide array of agricultural adventures including sheep shearing, pony rides, vet 101 and a barnyard petting farm. The Dairy Discovery Zone added its own piece of agricultural entertainment with touchscreens and games creatively illustrating where dairy comes from, how it fuels your body and how dairy farmers care for their animals and the environment. Dairy Discovery Zone event goers were able to journey back in time and enjoy the nostalgic feel of the fully restored 1965 milk truck, counterbalanced with new age technology through the Journey of Milk digital game, YUM exhibit and 360 virtual reality farm tours.
Following its stay in Colorado, the DDZ traveled south to warmer weather in San Antonio, Texas. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, held February 9-26, showcased a variety of entertainment from pig races, BMX shows, agricultural demonstrations and live music. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has grown to be one of the largest, most prestigious single events in the city of San Antonio, with approximately 1.5 million visitors entering the fairgrounds each year. The DDZ spent 18 days interacting with over 75,000 people and 6,000 school tours while being strategically positioned near fan-favorite Dan Dan the Farmer Man at Buckaroo Farms in the agriculture and livestock education area. Along with the YUM exhibit, Journey of Milk game and fan-favorite 360 virtual reality dairy farm tour, San Antonio fans were also able to try their hand at “milking” Bella, the animatronic dairy cow.
Next stop for the DDZ was the capitol of Texas. Since 1938, Rodeo Austin has expanded from a small stock show featuring just 16 animals to one of Austin’s premier events with an overall attendance reaching 900,000. Rodeo Austin is a year-round nonprofit funded by a month-long real western experience held March 10-25. This year’s event featured one of America’s top ProRodeos with action-packed competitions, a Texas-sized carnival and fair, Kids Town petting zoo, livestock show, concerts and a variety of other special attractions. The DDZ exhibit set up and gave tours near the high-traffic carnival area to more than 41,500 fans and 10,000 students on school tours. These kids were able to sit in the driver seat of the Divco Milk Truck, sign up for a chance to win free milk for a year and challenge their classmates to a friendly dance competition in the Rockstar Farm exhibit.
Following Austin, the DDZ journeyed to the Coastal Bend for the 85th annual Corpus Christi Buc Days event May 4-14. Originating in 1938, Buc Days is Corpus Christi’s longest running festival and welcomes an estimated 200,000 people to the American Bank Center to enjoy the rodeo, carnival, parade, petting zoo, BBQ, live music and now the Dairy Discovery Zone. In its first time traveling to Buc Days, the DDZ exhibit engaged with over 9,500 festival goers within the high-traffic shops at Treasure Island, which also brought crowds for the highly anticipated pig races and stunt dog shows. The DDZ taught fans of all ages fun facts about dairy and how to build a virtual reality dairy farm, tested their dancing ability, handed out dairy-themed prizes and registered event goers for their chance to win free milk for a year!
“The Dairy Discovery Zone truly hit the road strong in 2023. We made intentional strides to improve our presence, adjusting our footprint location within each venue, adding the new 360 Virtual Farm Tour, and increasing our media outreach,” said Adrian Castresana, director of consumer experience and events for Dairy MAX. “All of these tactics contributed to an increase in fairgoer visits by 175%. We look forward to building on this success the second half of the year by completing the DDZ experience with our fourth exhibit, which will be showcased at one of our new venue stops this June, the Greeley Stampede.”
The DDZ exhibit caught media attention this spring with numerous online and print news outlets in each market and was broadcast in the Austin market on ABC and FOX and the Coastal Bend market on KIII TV. Along with mainstream media, social media influencers shared the excitement around the DDZ exhibit by creating authentic content for their followers by encouraging attendance. The influencers were strategically chosen due to their high number of followers and engagements with family-friendly content. The increased media activity, coupled with additional events for 2023, brings more awareness and participation to the Dairy Discovery Zone and amplifies the Dairy MAX message. For more information about the Dairy Discovery Zone exhibit and where it may be traveling next, visit DairyDiscoveryZone.com.
About Dairy MAX
Founded more than 40 years ago, Dairy MAX is one of the leading regional dairy councils in America – representing more than 900 dairy farmers and serving communities in eight states: Colorado, southwest Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. A nonprofit organization, Dairy MAX is part of a nationwide effort to promote American agriculture, support dairy farming and drive impact for every dairy farmer. The organization operates five audience outreach programs: business development, consumer marketing, health and wellness, industry image and relations and school marketing. For more information about Dairy MAX and its team of experts, visit DairyMAX.org. Dairy resources and delicious recipes are available at DairyDiscoveryZone.com.