LEADING THE WAY: The Monto Dairy Festival street parade is always a highlight.
LEADING THE WAY: The Monto Dairy Festival street parade is always a highlight. Tobi Loftus

Monto gears up for famous Dairy Festival

MORE THAN half a century on from the inaugural Dairy Festival, Monto is still milking the biennial bonanza for all it's worth.

Plenty has changed in Monto since the first Dairy Festival was held on the Queen's Birthday weekend 1964, but the event has remained largely the same.

The 2018 instalment, which kicks off this month and runs from September 22-30, will include all the favourites punters have come to expect.

The traditional crowning of the dairy princess, tractor trek, farmers market, dairy goat competition and mustering.

To cap things off, Newton St closes for the famous procession of bagpipes, livestock, floats and even a T-Rex down the main street to the showgrounds.

Dairy helped build this town and the event is a celebration of the district's proud agricultural heritage.

While the region's dairy industry may not be as prominent as it once was, the festival pays homage to all the primary producers who made Monto the place it is today.

With a move to the September school holidays, event organisers hope to attract droves of out-of-towners and put our little town on the map.

Monto Dairy Festival committee president Tyrone O'Reilly said an important part of the Dairy Festival's mission was to boost Monto's profile and bring tourism dollars.

"We want to give people a reason to come to Monto and see what we're about and what we have to offer," Mr O'Reilly said.

"Monto isn't as far away as people think and once they come here to visit they usually end up coming back.

"It's about creating new memories. What a great opportunity for a lot of people to come back to the region and catch up with old friends and family.

"A lot of people ask why we keep doing it. Just because we don't have as many dairies as we used to doesn't mean we should forget.

"It's a celebration of the town's farmers - not just dairy. We focus on one aspect but that doesn't mean we forget about all the others that have contributed to Monto."

The Dairy Festival remains one of the most highly-anticipated events on the town's social calendar.

It has played an important role in the lives of a large portion of the Monto community.

The show and the Dairy Festival are the events everyone looks forward to.

Mr O'Reilly has fond memories of his youth spent at the festival and now gets to share the experience with his children.

"It's one of the few big events that brings everyone in to town," he said.

"It bridges the generational gap. Parents and grandparents who used to be involved now get to see their young kids on the floats and it takes them back.

"You forget about your troubles for the day and everyone just has a good time."

Special attractions this year are the nine life-size dairy cow sculptures that local students will be painted for the parade.

The fibreglass cows will serve as permanent art installations on display at locations around Monto after the festival.

There will be rides, entertainment and activities to keep the kids entertained, fireworks, plenty of great food options and a big screen at the bar to make sure AFL fans won't miss a second of the final.

Plus, live music from a mix of talented artists including local star Mitch Salisbury and Australia's Got Talent sensation The Wolfe Brothers.

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