ANDERSON — A warm, sunny Saturday afternoon seemed like the perfect time for a cold lemonade or sweet tea.
Local dairy company Prairie Farms had volunteers handing the beverages out for free at the Athletic Park. The only thing they asked for in return was a signature on a segment of a giant anniversary card.
The event was a celebration of the company's 75th anniversary and one of several community gatherings across the Midwest, a stronghold of the dairy giant.
About 350 people came by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to sample cake and ice cream, try some cold drinks and sign the card, which is one of 18 parts in other locations that will be assembled into one huge card to be displayed at the St. Louis Zoo next month.
Along with the samples, a cow and calf were brought to the event for children to meet. Sales manager Mike Wren said it was a big hit with families.
"This is really just a way for us to say 'thank you' to the community here," Wren said. "All of these events are meant to thank the different cities where we have plants."
The company is based in Carlinville, Ill., but has a plant on Broadway which provides products for a number of local restaurants like McDonald's, as well as a yogurt base for Gerber baby food. Volunteers said the celebration was as much to educate locals about the company as to say thanks.
"A lot of people don't know we provide for some of those places," said Teresa Mumford. "We want to get the word out about that and thank the community for their efforts."
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