DELAWARE TWP., NJ - In celebration of National Dairy Month, a local teen has been chosen the 2017-2018 Hunterdon County Dairy Princess.
The newest princess, Gianna Novak, will compete in the State Dairy Princess competition in November. She completed an in-person interview, gave a formal speech about the benefits of dairy products and took a product knowledge test during the competition in order to win the title.
Dairy Month started out 80 years ago as National Milk Month, a way to promote drinking milk. It was created in 1937 to stabilize the dairy demand when production was at a surplus, but over time developed into an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the dairy industry has made to the world. After the National Dairy Council stepped in to promote the cause, the name was changed to Dairy Month.
Gianna succeeds Amanda Wengryn of Ringoes as county princess. Amanda is now the alternate (runner-up) state princess. The alternate county princess, who will serve whenever Gianna is unavailable, is Sadie Strober of Stockton.
The princess competition June 19 was actually a regional event, with Carly Persichilli of Hopewell also taking part. She was selected the new Mercer County Dairy Princess and will represent that county in the state competition.
All three princesses have been active in 4-H dairy clubs. Gianna is in the Dilts Corner Dairy Club and is currently serving as the president of the New Jersey Junior Holstein Association. Sadie is a busy member of the Mount Airy Dairy Club, and has served as a Hunterdon County Dairy Ambassador for the past four years. Carly is currently vice president of the Mount Airy group and previously served as club secretary and treasurer. She has spent many years as a committee member on the Hunterdon County 4-H Dairy Council and the Hunterdon County 4-H Livestock Committee.
Gianna and her father, Ken Novak, together run Outlaw Farms. She owns and cares for nine Brown Swiss dairy cows that she keeps at Spring Run Dairy in Alexandria Township. She shows her cows across the East Coast, competing at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds, as well as at the All American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pa. Gianna has traveled extensively across the country competing in numerous Dairy Quiz Bowl competitions as a state representative and served as a New Jersey delegate at the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wis. She attends Immaculata High School in Somerville and is a varsity softball pitcher for the school’s team.
Sadie Strober is very active leader in the New Jersey dairy industry. She has represented the state on many Dairy Quiz Bowl and Dairy Judging teams, served on numerous dairy councils and committees and was a mentor for younger 4-H members.
She is an active member of the Junior Leaders 4-H Club. Sadie, who leases dairy cows from Fulper Farms in West Amwell Township, has been very successful in the show ring. She attends Hunterdon Central High School where she is a member of both the varsity field hockey and track teams.
Carly Persichilli is the daughter of Dino and Cynthia Persichilli. She leases Guernsey dairy cows from Hun Col Guernseys in West Amwell as well as Holstein dairy cows from Fulper Farms. She volunteers her time as a lead counselor for the Fulper Farms’ youth summer camp program.
Carly has served as the team captain for many Dairy Quiz Bowl teams and has competed several times with the New Jersey State team at the National Holstein Convention. She attends Notre Dame High School, where she is a three-sport athlete, running track and playing on the school’s basketball and lacrosse teams.
Gianna, Sadie and Carly will be at the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, which runs Aug. 23 to 27 at the South County Park near Ringoes. Be sure to stop by the Dairy Den, near the fairgrounds entrance, on Friday, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m., when Carly and Gianna will be giving away free ice cream sundaes.
Hunterdon has chosen a dairy princess each year since 1965, one of just a handful of New Jersey counties which have crowned a princess annually for more than 50 years. They make various public appearances at fairs, events, meetings and supermarket to encourage the use of milk and dairy products, mentioning their health benefits.