The story of dairy promotion is the story of dairy farmers and their vision, commitment and strategic sense. Throughout the 100 year history, (National Dairy Council celebrates its centennial this year), farmers have always led in the development and direction of efforts to educate their customers about the nutritional benefits and value of milk and dairy products. Today we understand that milk, cheese, and yogurt provide a unique nutrient package and that dairy foods improve overall diet quality and offer benefits beyond bone health.
In researching historical documents of American Dairy Association Indiana, Inc. I discovered the organization showcased the value, nutrition and versatility of dairy products as early as the 1940 Indiana State Fair where they served milk, all you could drink, for ten cents. One thin dime.
Serving milk at the fair was a good way to present an essential food and educate about the protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals it contributes to the diet. The practice of serving ‘all you can drink’ milk for ten cents continued through the early 1960’s. By the mid-fifty’s, ADAI operated a Dairy Bar out of the ‘old Farm Bureau Building’ on the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
By the early 60’s, Indiana’s dairy farmers were ready to build a permanent dairy bar and constructed it on prime real estate next door to the Indiana State Fair Administration Building on Main Street. A new and grander Dairy Bar was constructed on the same site in 2003.
Over the years the dairy bar menu has expanded beyond glasses of milk to include grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream cones and more. New this year is the ‘Raisin Shine Cinnamon Swirl Grilled (Muenster) Cheese. Find it on our breakfast menu and all day long. Other Dairy Bar favorites include frozen custard, fried mozzarella cheese sticks and of course our famous super-thick milkshakes. Be sure to try this year’s new milkshake flavor: S’Mores!
The American Dairy Association Indiana shares a rich 75-year history and relationship with the Indiana State Fair. I expect and hope that you’ll find a Dairy Bar on the same spot at the Indiana State Fair when you, your children or grandchildren visit the State Fair fifty years from now. (Spoiler alert: don’t look for me…I’m pretty sure I won’t be there).