Beef at the Strolling of the Heifers Parade

The beef checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) partnered with the Vermont Beef Industry Council, through a grant from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, to ensure that beef was prominently represented at one of the most well-known outdoor summer festivals in the New England region. The 2016 Strolling of the Heifers parade and expo took place in Brattleboro, Vermont, the first weekend in June.

The weekend highlight is the parade, the actual Strolling of the Heifers. Regional 4-H dairy clubs and farms lead their heifers, complete with a collar of flowers, down Main Street in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. Community bands, antique tractors and regional companies also exhibit on wagons or on foot in the parade. The NEBPI’s mascot, Patty Melt strolled in the parade and greeted the enthusiastic crowd with high-fives and hugs. The parade ends at an 11-acre outdoor festival full of youth activities, vendors, entertainment and food demonstrations.  

(Photo Caption: Patty Melt greeting spectators of the 2016 Strolling of the Heifer’s parade)

The beef checkoff was represented at two booth spaces at the festival. One booth space, located next to the Beef & Cheese Demonstration Tent included the ever-popular Beef Trivia Spin Wheel for attendees to test their beef knowledge and learn more about beef nutrition, cookery and production. Attendees also had the opportunity to win the “Best of Beef” raffle basket by completing a short informational survey. Local chefs demonstrated their culinary skills throughout the afternoon and beef was featured in five of the seven dishes; Beef Chopped Salad, Beef Meatballs with Chimichurri Sauce and Braised Beef Pasta with Goat Cheese were several of the dishes demonstrated on stage.

(Photo Caption:  Staff and volunteers grilling steak samples at the Strolling of the Heifers festival)

The second beef checkoff tent was located in the food court where the aroma of grilled steaks filled the air all afternoon. Checkoff staff and Millennial-to-Millennial volunteers grilled and sampled beef strip steaks, ribeyes, and tri-tip roasts throughout the day. Beef value cuts including the Denver cut and flat iron steak were also sampled by festival attendees. Discussions about choices of beef available in the market place accompanied the samples of sliced steak and attendees had the opportunity to take handouts of ‘Beef Made Easy’ cut chart guide and “Confident Cooking with Beef” recipe booklet.

The Tour de Heifer, a cycling race of 15, 30 and 60 miles wrapped up the weekend activities on Sunday morning. Cyclists were provided with lean beef snack sticks during their lunch break following the ride.

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The beef checkoff increases beef demand through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.