Painted cows are ‘talk of the town’ in Litchfield

As a host of the First District Association, an independent dairy cooperative, Litchfield has seen the small dairy processor gradually grow into a massive, state-of-the-art facility that produces cheese, whey protein and lactose that are sold around the world.

First District is putting the finishing touches on a two-year expansion project that is expected to increase the plant’s milk processing capacity from 5.8 million pounds per day to 7.5 million pounds per day.

The new system is expected to go live in September, just in time for the first district’s 100th anniversary.

To mark this milestone, the first district worked with the Litchfield Town Center Council on a project called Downtown Cowtown that celebrates the cows, dairy farmers, art and people of Litchfield.

It’s a unique project that once again puts cows in the Litchfield landscape – this time with a great deal of fun and philanthropy.

Eight life-size statues of fiberglass dairy cows and 10 plastic calves were painted by local nonprofits this spring and placed across town last week.

Some of the statues were painted in a blaze of color and some were painted with symbols and messages reflecting organizations, such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, Legion Auxiliaries, Day Care Centers, and Seniors’ Groups .

The uniquely decorated cows and calves can be seen all summer long at various outdoor locations, including the city park, the fire and rescue room, the library and a number of businesses.

On August 26, the cows will be driven to Central Park and auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the organizations that painted them. The auction will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a free outdoor concert.

“In order to give back to the community, we decided to let nonprofits paint the cows then at the auction in August. All of that money goes to nonprofits, ”said Troy Gassman, engineering project manager at First District. “So no matter what they sell the cows for, they keep the money. “

A dozen entrepreneurs who worked on the First District expansion project donated the $ 20,000 to purchase the unpainted fiberglass statues, which were made in the Philippines, “got stuck in the canal. Suez “and were then held up in New Jersey awaiting ground transportation – delaying their arrival at Litchfield,” said Darlene Kotelnicki, of the Litchfield Downtown Council.

Instead of having the statutes to paint in April and May, most organizations received them on June 1st.

Gassmann is delighted with the artistic results.

“I think people have done a great job,” he said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm and there are already people asking how to buy them and how they go about buying one, so I think it will be fine.”

After enduring the stresses of the pandemic over the past year, Gassman said people were “excited to do something” and have enthusiastically embraced the downtown Cowtown project.

With Kotelnicki indicating which decorated cow went to each specific location, Gassman and a team from the City of Litchfield’s Public Works Department transported cows and calves through streets and parking lots to their temporary homes.

The statues were anchored in the ground with long spikes on each hoof to make sure they did not stray away and signs were placed by each cow describing the organization that painted it and the businesses where it is located. the cows.

The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People love them,” Kotelnicki said. “They are the talk of the town. “

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