Through the Looking Glass: Alice in Dairyland Competition in Walworth County

This May, Walworth County will serve as the site of the 76th annual Alice in Dairyland competition to select the next face to serve as the ambassador of the agriculture industry in Wisconsin. The popular statewide competition began in 1948 as a beauty pageant, but it has evolved over time into a unique opportunity for public relations professionals with at least three years of experience in agriculture, PR, communications and related fields. The duties of the person selected as Alice in Dairyland include a commitment to making over 400 appearances throughout the state, including TV interviews, radio interviews and speeches to schools and organizations, garnering the equivalent of more than $1 million of airtime and print space for Wisconsin’s food, fiber and natural resources industries. The role pays a salary of $45,000 plus benefits.

Current Alice in Dairyland Taylor Schaefer says the experience has been vital and enriching. “My time as Alice in Dairyland has grown my appreciation and passion for Wiscon- sin agriculture,” she says. “As Alice in Dairyland, I have had the opportunity of a lifetime to expand my knowledge about Wisconsin’s diverse, vibrant agriculture communities and share that with the citizens of Wisconsin. I have created countless connections and built on skills that will help me in my career and beyond.”

This is the first time the statewide finals will be held in Walworth County, where more than 53 percent of the land is farmland, and agriculture provides more than 4,000 local jobs and more than $1 billion in revenue annually. The competition kicks off March 11 at Lake Lawn Resort with a press conference to announce this year’s candidates. The selection process itself takes place May 11-13 and culminates with a banquet finale and the selection of this year’s Alice in Dairyland. (The location was still being finalized at press time.)

Although this is the first year that Walworth County will host the competition, three former winners of the Alice in Dairyland title have local ties: Kris (Gratz) Welsh, Kim (Nettesheim) Flitcroft and Holly (Meudt) Crowley.

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