Students, locals celebrate Ag Day
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 02:05
Despite an overcast sky and chilly temperatures, thousands of students and local residents tried horseback riding and roamed petting zoos at the 37th annual Ag Day this weekend.
Ag Day, an annual event hosted by the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, was held on the grounds surrounding Townsend Hall Saturday, to educate visitors about nature and agriculture.
Katy O’Connell, the college’s communication manager and head of the Ag Day committee, stated in an email message that the committee members were worried that an overnight forecast calling for frost on Friday would negatively affect the event. Despite the cold weather, approximately 5,000 people attended.
“It’s great to be able to get the message of agriculture to the thousands of people who come visit every year, for whom agriculture isn’t something that they think about on a daily basis, like we do,” O’Connell said.
Sophomore Kelsey Schwenk, a wildlife conservation major and member of the Ag Day committee, said it was exciting to see people enjoying the event she put so much work into planning for.
“Seeing all of our ideas put into action [was my favorite part of the day],” Schwenk said.
An entomology exhibit featured live and preserved insects, such as butterflies and baby praying mantises. Holly Johnson, a graduate student studying entomology, said several students were running the booth as part of a first-year entomology course.
This was her third year participating in Ag Day, and although it was too cold for the cockroach races she normally organizes, she said it was still enjoyable.
“It is so much fun to be here and talk to people and teach them not to be scared of insects,” Johnson said.
Freshman Elizabeth Vacchiano, who represented the student-run group Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware, said people visited the exhibit to pet the dogs and learn more about the club.
“Earlier we had a training circle so people can see how the dogs act and are trained,” Vacchiano said.
Employees of UDairy Creamery, who were celebrating their one-year anniversary of the creamery’s opening, sold ice cream at various stations.
Newark resident Kristie Joannides, 32, attended Ag Day with her friends and children, who jumped up and down on small blocks of hay near an insect exhibit.
“It’s very educational,” Joannides said. “It’s definitely something for the kids, for sure.”
University alumna and Newark resident Heather Iverson, 34, said she has visited Ag Day in the past and came to enjoy the festival’s events and entertainment with friends.
“It’s super educational, but it’s fun stuff,” Iverson said.
O’Connell said her favorite part of Ag Day was seeing the student organizers’ hard work come together.
“There’s always a point somewhere around 2 p.m. on Ag Day where the chatter on the walkie-talkies quiets down and the students are actively doing what needs to be done and Ag Day crowds are at their peak and everything is running smoothly, and I get this sense of motherly pride for them,” O’Connell said. “That’s my favorite part by far.”