On the heels of the 53rd show, World Dairy Expo hosted its annual Friends of Expo party on Dec. 11 at the Alliant Energy Center in recognition of the more than 400 volunteers and paid staff who make the global show possible.

Highlighting the evening was the presentation of the 2019 Friends of Expo awards, with Pam VanderSanden, Carol and John McKinely, Rick Feran and Event Essentials receiving recognition. 

Involved in multiple aspects of WDE, the first friend honored was Pam VanderSanden of Oregon, Wisconsin. Each year, VanderSanden begins her Expo week assisting both Expo Trade Show and Dairy Cattle Show organizers and exhibitors. However, most of her time is dedicated to Expo’s School Tour Program that hosts more than 1,500 fourth grade students annually. She goes above and beyond as the School Tour Volunteer Coordinator, offering an informal training process for new volunteers ensuring they are prepared and comfortable with their duties.

Expo’s second 2019 Friend of Expo also flourishes in the WDE School Tour Program. Rick Feran, Oregon, Wisconsin, has led hundreds of students across the grounds of World Dairy Expo teaching them about cows, the global dairy industry and the nutritional benefits of dairy products. Feran spends the remainder of his time helping with commercial exhibitor check-in and greeting attendees as a tram rider.

Carol and John McKinley of Verona, Wisconsin, began volunteering at Expo six years ago and now spend every day helping dairy enthusiasts from around the globe. Following their morning coffee and doughnuts with fellow volunteers, Carol takes her position in the Purple Cow Gift Shop, reading prices to cashiers for a speedy check-out process and bagging purchases that will find their way around the world. Meanwhile, John shares his lifetime of knowledge of Madison, Dane County and Wisconsin with attendees as a tram rider and official greeter of World Dairy Expo. 

The final friend honored was Event Essentials, located in Windsor, Wisconsin. As Expo’s exclusive tent vendor, Event Essentials has helped elevate WDE spaces such as The Tanbark, Sale Pavilion, Trade Center and even the UW-Madison Cheese Stand among others. Not only are they an invaluable partner to Expo, they are also on hand to assist Trade Show exhibitors with rentals and supplies they couldn’t bring with them on the trip to Madison.