Butter display is back at the Ohio State Fair

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2022 Ohio State Fair butter sculpture
The traditional butter cow and calf are being shown by young exhibitors inside the butter cooler at the Ohio State Fair this year. The display, presented by the American Dairy Association Mideast, celebrates the fair's agricultural heritage. (Submitted photo)

COLUMBUS — For the first time since 2019, the American Dairy Association Mideast’s annual butter cow display is back at the Ohio State Fair and is bigger than ever, paying homage to the fair’s rich agricultural heritage. 

This year’s display features 10 life-size butter sculptures including the traditional cow and calf, and for the first time ever, other livestock — a pig, a lamb and a chicken — all being proudly shown by kids at the fair. 

Sculpture. The butter display was sculpted by a team of technical sculptors including lead sculptor Paul Brooke of Cincinnati and Tammy Buerk of West Chester, Erin Birum, of Columbus, dairy farmer Matt Davidson, of Sidney, Joe Metzler, of Auburn, and Karen Tharp, of Fort Myers, Florida. 

While the butter sculptures typically weigh-in around 2,000 pounds, this year’s record-breaking display uses 2,530 pounds of butter, donated in part by Dairy Farmers of America, and was completed in 600 hours, 500 of which were spent sculpting. 

Exhibit. The butter sculptures are exhibited in the Dairy Products Building at the Ohio Expo Center in a large walk-in refrigerated cooler that is 36 feet long by 11 feet wide and maintained at an energy-efficient 46 degrees. The butter cow display attracts more than 500,000 visitors to the Ohio State Fair, often gaining nationwide recognition and media attention. 

A long-standing tradition for Ohio’s 1,550 dairy farm families, the American Dairy Association Mideast chooses an icon or theme to feature in butter that is non-political, non-controversial and reflects optimism and broad audience appeal. Each year, the theme of the butter cow display is one of the best-kept secrets leading up to the fair. 

The Dairy Products Building is open daily and offers a variety of dairy foods, including the Ohio State Fair official ice cream flavor, Red, White & Blueberry — a vanilla ice cream with strawberry pieces and a blueberry swirl by Velvet Ice Cream. A variety of other ice cream flavors, milkshakes, cheese sandwiches and milk are also available. 

The butter display and the Dairy Products Building are sponsored by the American Dairy Association Mideast, Ohio’s dairy farmer-funded marketing and promotion program. For more information, visit drink-milk.com.

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