Brattleboro Parade and Festival Highlights Local Farmers and Food

The 18th annual Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, featuring a parade of future farmers leading flower-bedecked heifer calves through historic Main Street in Brattleboro, takes place June 7, 8 and 9. Organizers promise many special surprises for the occasion, but the centerpiece of the weekend is the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade, which starts promptly at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. The signature heifer calves lead the parade and are followed by other farm animals, tractors, bands, floats and much more.

The crowd then follows the parade to the all-day Slow Living Expo to enjoy food, family fun, entertainment and exhibits. The Expo will be on the Brattleboro Common and lower Linden Street.

Over the years, Strolling of the Heifers has grown from a one-hour parade into a full weekend packed with family events and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to this scenic Connecticut Valley town in the heart of New England. The mission of Strolling of the Heifers is to connect people with healthy local foods and with the farmers and producers who bring it to them.

In recent years, the mission has expanded to include a year-round set of programs aimed at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in farm and food businesses. First and foremost, the event shows support and appreciation for family farmers, but it also features many other regional food producers as well as vendors and exhibitors of sustainable goods and services.

At the Slow Living Expo, visitors will find makers of many specialty foods including candies, chocolates, condiments, sauces, meats, food and beverages, along with craftspeople, green building and home energy specialists, healthy living and woodlands exhibitors. Visitors will also get to visit with the heifers.

The day will be filled with music and entertainment at the gazebo in the center of the Common and other locations. Music styles from honky-tonk to hip-hop with some folk, jazz and a capella will be performed by local and national bands.

A crowd favorite at the Expo is the nonstop trapeze artists show by Brattleboro’s New England Center for Circus Arts.

The money raised during Strolling of the Heifers weekend, largely through business sponsorships, supports the Stroll’s year-round programs at its River Garden headquarters in downtown Brattleboro. These include a Farm-to-Table Culinary Apprenticeship Program and Windham Grows, a program that helps scale up socially conscious farm and food enterprises by providing them with mentorship, consulting, services and resources. There are also daily brown bag lunch events featuring speakers and musicians.  

For further information on all events and programs, visit strollingoftheheifers.com.