Wisconsin to select new Alice in Dairyland Saturday
PHOTO: Alice in Dairyland Finalists L-R Charitee Seebecker, Amber Cafferty, Amelia Hayden, 74th Alice in Dairyland Julia Nunes, Taylor Schaefer, Samantha Schuessler, Courtney Moser
Wisconsin will have a new Alice in Dairyland Saturday night as the 75th Alice is selected in Dane County.
Wisconsin’s 60th Alice Jill Makovec serves on the Dane County committee hosting the Alice in Dairyland Finals. She says the program started in 1948 as part of Wisconsin’s Centennial, and the late Don McDowell at the state’s agriculture department was instrumental in getting it started. “Don and his team came up with the way to celebrate Wisconsin agriculture and the State of Wisconsin, really, as part of the centennial celebration. Don went on then to become the Director of Agriculture, which is our predecessor to our Secretary of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection which people know today.”
Makovec tells Brownfield that Alice started out as a beauty pageant but changed to a one-year civil servant position as Wisconsin’s ambassador to agriculture, promoting all things grown in Wisconsin. “It is the only program like it in the nation, where you have someone that is tied to the state and works on the state’s behalf to promote the state’s signature industry, which again is obviously agriculture.”
And, Makovec says how Alice reaches consumers has evolved from mostly school and media appearances to online interaction. “The last year has really taken Alice into a virtual world where she hosted a lot of virtual events where she could have conversations with people right in their home and give her multiple more touchpoints with consumers.”
Six finalists have been in intensive training at the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection for more than a month. One of them will succeed Julia Nunes, who served two terms because of the COVID pandemic.