Holy cow, what a fundraiser!

Pardon the pun, but you can't help but milk this Downtown Cowtown promotion for all it's worth.

And it was worth plenty. At least $36,500.

That's the amount of money bid for the 19 cows that were part of the Downtown Cowtown auction Thursday evening at Litchfield Civic Arena.

Originally planned for Central Park in Litchfield, the auction was moved to the Civic Arena due to a forecast of rain at auction time. The forecast was accurate as it thundered a poured as the the auction began at 5:30 p.m., but the rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of bidders one bit.

The Litchfield FFA cow generated the highest bidding, with a winning total of $6,100. The cow — actually a calf — associated with School of St. Philip received a winning bid of $4,000. All told, the 19 cows brought $36,500 in bids, according to organizers — an average of more than $1,900 per cow.

Each of the cows was associated with a nonprofit organization, and the amount bid for each cow will go to each organization.

Organizers admitted they didn't know what to expect from the auction, but they said they were overwhelmed with its success.

The Downtown Cowtown promotion began as a way to celebrate First District Association's 100th anniversary, but the dairy cooperative's management wanted it to be something more. So, working in partnership with the Litchfield Downtown Council and others, they planned a promotion that celebrated the dairy industry and also would raise money for nonprofit organizations in the Litchfield area.

The fiberglass cows were paid for by contractors who worked on an expansion of the FDA plant, which is expected to increase the plant’s milk processing capacity from 5.8 million pounds to 7.5 million pounds per day. When they arrived in Litchfield earlier this year — after a weeks-long delay due to the Suez Canal being blocked in March — the cows were distributed to service organizations and nonprofits, whose members gave each cow its own unique look with paint jobs representative of the organization. Once decorated, they were placed at 16 locations in or near the downtown business district.

The life-sized cows and calves — nine adults and 10 calves — were a popular attraction throughout the summer, especially in the early weeks after they were placed, with many people posting selfies with their favorite cow to social media.

And the promotion culminated Thursday with a last roundup of sorts, with the entire herd of 19 corralled in the Civic Arena and auctioned off one-by-one for a good cause.