The first-ever Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival takes place on the grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons on Sunday, June 10th. Why a festival for a cow, and why this cow? It seems that Traverse Colantha Walker was not your ordinary heifer.
Some Cow: The Story of Traverse Colantha Walker
Of the 96 Holstein-Friesian cows that comprised the former Traverse City State Hospital’s herd, Colantha was by far the most prolific. In 1926, she produced 22,918 pounds of milk in a single year, making her the highest producer in the world! In her lifetime, from 1916 to 1932, her total production was 200,114.9 pounds of milk. According to a Federal census during that same year, Michigan’s average production was 3,918 lbs. of milk per cow per year!
Colantha was so revered by hospital staff and patients that upon her death in 1932, a banquet was held in her honor, and a beautifully carved memorial stone was placed at her gravesite near the south end of the Commons property.
The First Annual Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival will celebrate Colantha’s historic accomplishments along with the preservation and urban renewal of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a Traverse City landmark. This Village-wide, family-festive, day-long festivity features a Pancake Breakfast, Farmers Market, Great Grilled Cheese Grill-off, food, art & merchandise vendors, a public parade to Colantha’s Headstone at the Barns, live music featuring Sister Wilene all day and a Street Dance from 5-7 PM. There will also be Food Demonstrations, Wagon Rides, Kid’s Activities, Wine & Cheese Pairings along with Milk & Cookie Pairings for the kids, thoughout the day!