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Super Ag Day

Photos by Wenbo Fan

Video by Jason Hinmon

Crowds gather to view agriculture, natural resources exhibits at superhero-themed Ag Day

One of the warmest Ag Day celebrations on record was also one of its most well attended as an estimated 7,000 visitors flocked to the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus to take in bird shows, bee demonstrations, livestock exhibits, 4-H arts and crafts, farm tours, plant sales, and much more.

Mark Rieger, CANR dean, welcomed the crowd to Ag Day and said that the event is all about celebrating “food, fun and agriculture and natural resources. We really appreciate the community coming out, and we do this for you.”

Rieger recognized Keith Medwid, a CANR senior who chaired the Ag Day student planning committee, and also Grace Wisser, CANR event coordinator, for the key roles they played in organizing Ag Day.

Talking about the history of the event, Rieger spoke about Dave Frey, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and how he and Paul Sammelwitz, a department colleague and emeritus faculty member, started Ag Day 42 years ago.

Rieger also plugged the UDairy Creamery’s new location on 815 North Market Street in downtown Wilmington, which will have a block party with free ice cream from noon-2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, to celebrate its opening.

“The reason we’re doing that is we’ve had so much success with this creamery – 250 to 300 students have worked here, we’ve probably sold over a million scoops of ice cream, and we’re going to extend the same opportunity to the students in the Associate in Arts Program in the city of Wilmington. They are University of Delaware students and we’re taking a branch of the UDairy Creamery to them,” said Rieger.

This year’s Ag Day had a superhero theme, highlighting how the research and teaching efforts of the faculty and staff members at CANR are of extraordinary importance as they try to figure out ways to feed the world and protect the planet.  

As part of the superhero theme, the first 300 kids who attended the event were given free capes and superhero cutouts adorned the lawn in front of Townsend Hall.

The entertainment stage was a big draw this year as, in addition to the band’s Frisco and Eclectic Acoustic, crowds gathered to watch a UD Swing Dance Showcase, the Agricultural College Council’s Pie in the Face fundraiser in which Rieger and other professors and staff members participated, CANR trivia, and an improv showcase courtesy of Riot Act.

Another popular aspect of Ag Day was the Center for Experimental and Applied Economics (CEAE) asking attendees to participate in four separate research studies. Those who took part were paid in cash for their participation or given a coupon to the UDairy Creamery for a free ice cream cone and by the end of the day CEAE had 1,529 research observations, an all-time high and up from around 750 last year.

Continuing at Ag Day this year was the popular Recipe Contest, which was started in 2015 by Christy Mannering, communications specialist at CANR.

The winners of the recipe contest included:

• Stephanie Anderson – First place with Tomato Peach Bruschetta. The first place prize is a 50-pound voucher for canning tomatoes, 20-pound box of mixed vegetables, a jar of honey, an Ag Day T-shirt and UDairy Creamery items.

• Nathan Thayer – Second place with Can't Beet Local Burger. The second place prize is a 20-pound box of mixed vegetables, a jar of honey and an Ag Day T-shirt.

• Karin Pleasanton – Third place with Zucchini and Lettuce Boat California Rolls. The third place prize is an Ag Day T-shirt and UDairy Creamery items.

In addition to Medwid, the 2017 Ag Day student planning committee was made of up of Kelly Holland, Julie Leznar, Andrew Mason, Michelle McEnroe, Melody Walkiewicz, Amanda Obosneko, Alexis Omar, Natalie Zelenky and Natalia Ziemecki.

For additional photos, see the gallery.

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