It all began with a meeting at Irby's:

July 9, 1949

Sponsoring of a "Dairy Day to honor the dairymen of Vermilion and nearby parishes in Abbeville was taken under consideration by members of the board of directors of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce at their meeting Friday at Irby's home.

The directors submitted the proposed "Dairy Day" plans to the members of the merchants committee of the chamber of commerce for their consideration.  Further plans will be developed following their study and their recommendations.

Charles Caldwell, president of the Louisiana Jersey Cattlemen's Association suggested that the celebration of a "Dairy Day" in Abbeville would be an ideal occasion to pay tribute to those engaged in the dairying industry which he said was growing into one of the largest businesses of the parish with a payroll of over half a million dollars.

Caldwell suggested a citywide event for the "Dairy Day" with a free barbecue, the display of purebred cattle, the display of farming equipment, and addresses by prominent agricultural leaders.  The directors enlarged on Mr. Caldwell's suggestion and submitted the proposed program to the merchants committee.

It was a simple idea: Honor the Dairy Farmers of Vermilion and surrounding parishes.  But the manager of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce had other plans.  This was to be no simple celebration.  Roy Theriot wanted something more for his hometown.

And so the date was set:  Saturday, September 24, 1949.  The first Chairmen were Mr. Charles Caldwell, head of the Vermilion Dairymen's Co-op Creamery and president of the Louisiana Jersey Cattle Association, and Mr. Richard Evans, the owner of Evan's Creamery.  But there were many who would share the burden of putting on that first festival:

Committee Members who are to work toward making the Abbeville Dairy Day celebration one that will rival other area festivals were announced this week by Roy R. Theriot, manager of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce and coordinator of the festival.

General Chairman for the program will be Charles Caldwell, president of the Vermilion Dairymen's Association, and Richard Evans of Evans Creamery.  Committee members are:

Registration Committee:  Mrs. Hazel Gosselin, Chairman, Mrs. J. E. McClellan, Mrs. Richard Evans, and Delores Nunez.

Exhibits Committee:  I. W. Crawford, J. D. Vallot, Co-Chairmen; Henry Gautreaux, Theogene Brasseaux, Constance Escudier, Murphy Veillon.

Parade Committee:  Dr. S. J. LaBorde, Elliott Cade, Co-Chairmen; Robert Motty, Dr. W. T. Sagrera, Emmett Brasseaux, Lillian Gisclair, Ed Sigur.

Display & Booths Committee:  C. T. Hill, Chairman; Cecil Gremilion, Dallas Duck, L. W. Bordelon, Gladu Hebert, Paul St. Marie.

Entertainment Committee:  Richard Evans, chairman; Emery Hollier, Paul Piazza, David Russo, Francis Meaux, Joe Duhon.

Judging & Awards Committee:  Paul Bourgeois, Chairman; Murphy Veillon, Elliot Prejean, Constance Escudier.

Publicity Committee:  Gene Yoes, Vincent Jennaro, George Martin, Co-Chairman.

Baby Contest Committee:  Mrs. J. E. McClellan, Chairman; Hazel Gosselin, Una Evans.

Construction Committee:  Andrew Broussard, Chairman, Albert Taylor, William P. Crosswell.

Junior Judging Committee:  James Baudoin, Johnny Suire, Noah Langlinais, Ovay Huval, Paul Broussard.

Refreshment Committee:  William Broussard, Chairman; Irby Hebert, Charles Caldwell, Richard Evans, Donald Landry.

Finance Committee:  Roy R. Theriot, Chairman; Charles B. Caldwell, Theogene Brasseaux.

Overall Advisor:  Murphy Veillon.

Coordinator:  Roy R. Theriot.

A reception committee to be made up of dairymen is to be announced later.

And what Festival would be complete without Queens?  The first queens of the festival had certain restrictions:  You had to be the daughter of a dairyman and you had to be from either Vermilion, Acadia, St. Landry, Lafayette, St. Martin or Iberia Parish.  Other events that were planned included a greased pole, free milk and ice cream supplied by the Pelican Dairy of New Iberia, free passes to the four Abbeville theaters to any dairymen at the event, and a full day of music.

Support for the new festival was widespread.

And, of course, there had to be a parade.  Roy Theriot promised to deliver to Abbeville the largest parade in the history of the city.  Invitations were extended to business concerns in the six participating parishes.  In addition there would be veterans, visiting queens, outstanding dairy cattle, school organizations, and many others.  And there were the sponsors:

Donators for the dairy day event are:

Robert Stauffer, Abdallas Inc., West Brothers, Hollier's Drug Store, Bourque Furniture, Emile Dutel, Landry Stores, Inc., Jules Weill & Son, Jacob Weill, Veazey's Bar, LeBlanc-Nunez-Trahan, Landry Stansbury (Jax), Western Auto, Kibbe's Bar, H & G Furniture, Lovey Theall, Reaux Lumber Co., Dr. P.J. Miller, Nettles Chevrolet, Vermilion Parish Auto, Victor Rice Mill, Broussard Pontiac, Midway, P.L. Broussard, The United Gas Co., Dixie Auto Lec, Chauvin's Wholesale, Dr. S.J. Laborde, Lady Lake Fashion Shop, Lincoln's Coffee Shop, Little's Rene, Buckhorn, Summer's Hardware, Wood Motor Co., People's Insurance Agency, Abbeville Pharmacy, Bordelon's Hardware, Victory Supply, LeBlanc Furniture, Dr. Villien, Irby's, Jonas Weill, Ray Stores, Scalisi Cleaners, Beo Langlinais, Whitney's Home Appliance, Gladu Hebert, Vermilion Creamery, Bank of Erath, Morgan & Lindsey's, First National Bank, Joe Campisi Feed Store, Frenzel's, 241 Appliance, A Friend, Brasseaux Motors, Evan's Creamery, Airport Club, C.B. Caldwell Dairy.

Dr. P.O. Landry, Dr. Robert Young, Dr. L.E. Chauvin, Justin's Furniture, Duhon Gas Co., Broussard's Cafe, Lull's Furniture, A & J Produce, Weill Lumber, A. D. LeBlanc, Dudley Landry, Abbeville Lion's Club, Abbeville Lumber Co., Nelson Hollier, Dr. A. Picard, Marcus Broussard, Romero's Jewelry, Audrey Drug Store, Hebert's Bar, City Cleaners, Paul Piazza, Louise's Shop, F.J. Samson, Schrieber's, Morgan's, Concord bar, Emmett Brasseaux, Victor Schriefer, Theogene Brasseaux, William Broussard, Joseph Lallande, Richard Service Station, Quality Cleaners, Abbeville Bakery, F.J. Montagne, Trahan's Cafe, Landry's Bar, Dr. Walter Sagrera, Woodies, Peerless Bakery, Star Brand Shoe Store, Luke Thibideaux, Hazel's Flower Shop, Orthan Richard, Buttons & Bows.

And our new Queen...

The prospect of something big was in the air...

 

And then the day arrived...

And the plans for next year were begun...