Mark Tueting escorted his eight-year-old Ayrshire cow Bonnie at the head of the parade through the village of Batesville on Batesville Day May 1, marking the first time a cow has ever made a parade appearance—at least as far as anyone can remember.
Bonnie showed some reluctance to pass between the 400 to 500 people standing on either side of the road, but Tueting reassured her with strokes to her cheeks and with a strong stride kept up forward momentum. Tueting, who owns Sweet Season Farm south of Batesville, said that Bonnie likes to be rubbed under her chin and is now drying up after having raised three calves this spring.
The biggest float in the parade was a batteau, on a trailer, the Rose of Nelson, from Nelson County. The Henley Middle School Marching Band also made its traditional appearance, led by a flag corps. Other parade units included a restored 1941 Willys pickup, Dick McInnich’s restored 1915 Buick Model C25 (with a buzzard ornament on its radiator cap), a clean truck from Layman’s Disposal, the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department’s oldest engine, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Bookmobile, ventriloquist Black Bart and Earl (one of his characters), the Crozet Lions Club Broom Brigade, groups from the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and North Branch School and White Hall Supervisor Ann Mallek, who was encouraging everyone to register to vote. The Grand Squares of Nelson, who performed a square dance under the view of judges watching from a second-floor porch, were named winners of the parade. The parade line ended with the CVFD’s brush truck spraying a mist of water on the road as it passed along.
The parade led to the field east of town where tents and exhibits were set up, as well as flatbed trailers for bands to perform on. Playing were Bluzonia and Failure to Yield, a folk and classic rock band that includes Batesville native Brad Bryant on guitar and vocals.
Exhibitors included Jace Goodling of Bent Post Farm in Afton and his Kiko goats, which he rents out as land clearers. “Grass is their least favorite food,” he said. “They’ll clear out wild rose, autumn olive. They take the stuff you don’t want and leave the stuff you do. Their hooves work their manure into the soil, but they are too light to cause compaction.”
Gooling’s business, now in its third year, is called Goat Busters. He sets up electrified net fencing around areas to be cleared and two Great Pyrenees dogs stay with the goats as nocturnal protectors.
The food tent was supplied by the Batesville Store, which was ready with pulled-pork barbeque (“Best in Virginia” according to Batesvillians, who are always ready with superlatives to describe their village), chocolate chip cookies and macaroni and cheese (asserted to be the “Best in the World”).
Batesville farmer Holmes Brown was the parade’s Grand Marshal. “Whatever that means,” he said. “I was born the same year that car was,” he said, pointing to the 1915 Buick. His job was to wave and wear a fireman’s hat, he said.
“I’ve been cheering for grand marshals for 30 years. This was a record crowd. More than I’ve ever seen at the fair. It’s at least a thousand.”
Batesville Day was organized by the Batesville Ruritan Club and supported by Savvy Sleeper, Batesville Store, Dr. Ho’s Pizza, Old Dominion National Bank and Ragged Mountain Running Shop.