Ten life-size butter sculptures – which are on display at this week’s 2022 Ohio State Fair – are the result of a six-strong technical team’s 600 hours of sculpting and 2,530 lbs (circa 1,147kgs) of unsalted butter.
The “bigger and better” 2,000lb (over 900kgs) famed butter cow display returned to the event, which will run until August 7th, 2022, for the first time since 2019.
According to the American Dairy Association Mideast, the team spent over 500 hours sculpting in a 46°F walk-in cooler to create the “highly anticipated” annual attraction, a tradition for over 170 years.
The display contains:
- Five farm animals – the traditional cow and calf, a pig, a lamb and a hen;
- Five people – depicting young handlers in a livestock show arena.
Honouring the fair’s “rich” agricultural heritage is the theme of this year’s display which was a “closely guarded secret” up until early last week.
The first butter cow made its debut at the fair in 1903 and was the result of butter contests held in the early 1900s.
Crafting new cow and calf sculptures is an annual fair tradition, and displays are created from scratch each year.
- Make steel and wooden frames to support the weight of the butter;
- From 55lb blocks, they layer butter on the frames;
- After hours of moulding and smoothing the butter, each sculpture begins to take shape;
- Fine details added last.
The technical sculpting team, which creates the “masterpiece”, include:
- Lead sculptor Paul Brooke of Cincinnati;
- Tammy Buerk of West Chester;
- Erin Birum of Columbus;
- Dairy farmer Matt Davidson of Sidney;
- Joe Metzler of Auburn;
- Karen Tharp of Ft. Meyers, Fla.
The annual butter display attracts more than 500,000 visitors to the dairy products’ buildings each summer.
According to the association, after the fair, the butter is recycled and refined into an ingredient used in “a variety of non-edible products”.
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