The Alice in Dairyland Finals are underway in Grant County culminating in the naming of the 65th Alice on Saturday evening. Katie Wirkus looks back on what she describes as “a fantastic year” as Wisconsin’s 64th Alice in Dairyland:
Her biggest challenge? Overcoming the idea that Alice is a “princess”, “How do you explain to a five-year-old that you are an ambassador?” She says that while the tiara and sash do bring attention to Alice, it does contribute to the challenge.
She says her greatest accomplishment was all of the school visits and the opportunity to tell them all about agriculture in Wisconsin.
Wirkus says the only regret she has for the year is that while touring a cranberry operation last fall she didn’t ask to put on the waders and get into the water. She hopes one of the state’s growers will invite her to do that this fall.
Her advice to the 65th Alice? “Be ready for a fun year and be flexible because everything changes as you are going along.”
As for those who are considering seeking the position at some time in the future? If you want to do it, “I would strongly encourage it but I would never force it.” She says the job is demanding so “you have to have a passion for it.”
Wirkus will finish her year in early June and then become a middle-school math teacher.
Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time paid marketing specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.