There will be no butter sculpture at the 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced today.
The 105th Farm Show is set to go on virtually Jan. 9-16, but creating a butter sculpture would still involve putting people together indoors. That’s a risk they cannot take as the state has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“While we are heartbroken to have to cancel popular features of our annual farm show, we simply cannot afford to compromise the health and safety of our staff, the sculptors who would have to travel to Harrisburg, and those involved in recording and broadcasting virtual events,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said, in a statement.
COVID-19 cases topped 400,000 and the statewide percent positive rate went up to 14.4%, Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced in a press conference Monday. Just six weeks ago, the number of COVID cases was at 200,000.
The increasing number of cases is taxing the state’s health system. Levine said hospitals throughout the state are at or are nearing capacity.
The annual butter sculpture is a way to highlight the state’s dairy industry. Rick Naczi, chief executive officer of American Dairy Association North East, the group that sponsors the sculpture, said they’re disappointed the sculpture is canceled, but they’re already looking forward to bringing the butter sculpture back in 2022.
The 2020 butter sculpture, carved from a half-ton of butter, featured three of Pennsylvania’s sports mascots: Philadelphia Flyers’ Gritty, Philadelphia Eagles’ Swoop, and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steely McBeam. The butter was donated by Land O’ Lakes, in Cumberland County.
The 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show will offer a variety of virtual events broadcast on social media and the Pennsylvania Cable Network, as well as virtual educational exhibits that can be found on the farm show’s website. For more information, visit farmshow.pa.gov.
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