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Dairy Barn, Vino de Milo collaborate on celebratory event

Some anniversaries are celebrated with gold, others with paper and some with pasta sauce.

On Friday, The Dairy Barn Arts Center and Vino de Milo, a wine-based food company in Athens, are teaming up for the 10/35 event at the Dairy Barn.

The event is being held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Vino de Milo and the 35th anniversary of the Dairy Barn.

Vino de Milo was founded after creator Jonathan Leal began working with ACEnet and saw their bottling process. Soon after, he began crafting his own sauce, salsa, bruschetta topping, barbecue sauce and dressing. Today his products are sold in five different locations in Athens County, including West 82, located in Baker University Center.

“My favorite part of running Milo's is meeting our customers out at shows or in Athens,” Leal said. “The way people respond to our healthy lineup makes the job very rewarding.”

The arts center was founded in 1977 after a task force saved the barn, formerly a functioning dairy barn owned by the Athens State Hospital, from being razed. Today the center offers camps, classes, shows and a free art gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

“One thing that the Dairy Barn has been proud of is to promote local artists and to promote sustainability,” said Jane Forrest Redfern, executive director of the Dairy Barn Arts Center.

While the companies do not have an official contract with one another, Forrest Redfern said that both of the companies share a common goal.

“We’re a local organization and Jonathan is a local entrepreneur,” she said. “In the past, they have held their other events here and we try to support local businesses and the community as best we can.”

The 10/35 event is similar to other events the two organizations have hosted in that there will be food, music and a cash bar.

The event will also feature a riddle contest in which participants solve 10-weeks worth of riddles. Each patron who provides a correct set of answers will be entered to win a prize.

With both organizations celebrating a notable anniversary, each said they have goals and hopes for the future.

Leal said that in the next 10 years, he wants to grow the business dramatically and repay much of the company’s initial debt as well as add additional jobs. Donna Cunningham, a volunteer who has spent 30 years at the Dairy Barn, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I would really love to see a permanent outdoor center, get repairs done to the barn and see a growing interest by the community,” Cunningham said.

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