Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer's day in Vermont
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Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer's day in Vermont

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Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer's day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway 'around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you're more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where - over the first weekend in June - you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then - come Saturday morning - Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.


Photo by Jim Hill

They've staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year's crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.


Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena's Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that - for every entry that actually acknowledged this year's theme (i.e. "Dance to the Moosic") -- ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... there was something completely random, like this parade's synchronized shopping cart unit.


Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... there was something silly. Like - say - a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.


Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all ... Well, does it really surprise you to learn that -- among the groups that marched in this year's Strolling of the Heifers - was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of "We're Number One !," tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because - as it turns out - urine can be turned into fertilizer.


Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer ... At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.


Photo by Jim Hill

This year's Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year's parade...


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... or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.


Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.


Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year's "Dance to the Moosic" theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.


Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way - keeping with Brattleboro's tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community - some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.


Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer's day in Vermont. And that's no bull.


Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it's kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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