Ohio butter sculptors churn creamy champions at the state fair
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Always a highly anticipated Ohio State Fair favorite, the annual butter sculpture display was unveiled today by the American Dairy Association Mideast and is sure to spread Buckeye spirit. This year, the butter display commemorates the Ohio State Buckeye’s national championship victory in the first-ever College Football Playoff.
The 2015 display features the butter cow and calf standing next to life-size sculptures of Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer and mascot Brutus Buckeye, along with larger-than-life carvings of the coveted national championship trophy and two Ohio State football helmets. The buttery Buckeye display gives fairgoers a chance to once again celebrate Ohio State’s historic win, when the team defeated the Oregon Ducks, 42-20, on Jan. 12, 2015.
Name the cow and calf
Fairgoers will also have the opportunity to name this year’s butter cow and calf via Twitter by following @OHDairyFarmers and using the hashtag #ButterCowNameGame. The person who submits the most inventive name will be awarded a Go Pro HERO LCD camera at the conclusion of the fair.
Made from 2,000 pounds of butter, donated in part by Dairy Farmers of America, the display was completed in 500 hours, which includes approximately 400 hours of sculpting inside a 46-degree cooler.
The sculptors begin by building wooden and steel frames to support the weight of the butter. From 55-pound blocks, the butter is sliced into manageable loaves and layered on the frames. After many hours of molding and smoothing the butter, each sculpture begins to take shape. Fine details are added last.
The 2015 display was crafted by a group of four Ohio-based technical sculptors including lead sculptors Paul Brooke and Alex Balz of Cincinnati, Tammy Buerk of West Chester and Erin Swearingen of Columbus. Matt Davidson, a dairy farmer from Sidney who has a degree in fine arts, assisted the team. The mural in the display features the Ohio State athletic logo with the iconic Block O and was painted by Ted Hendricks of Cincinnati.
The butter display is a long-standing tradition of Ohio’s more than 2,700 dairy farmers. Each year, the theme of the butter display is always the best kept secret leading up to the fair.
The American Dairy Association Mideast selects an icon or theme to feature in butter that is non-political, non-controversial and reflects optimism and broad audience-appeal. The butter display annually attracts more than 500,000 visitors at the Ohio State Fair and often gains media attention nationwide.
The butter display is in the Dairy Products Building at the Ohio Expo Center, home of the Ohio State Fair. While there, fair visitors can also learn about how Ohio’s dairy farmers care for their cows, their land and their communities. The Dairy Products Building is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and offers a variety of Ohio-produced dairy foods including ice cream, milkshakes, cheese sandwiches and milk. The fair will run from Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, Aug. 9.
The butter sculpture 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 www.drink-milk.com and www.ohiodairyfarmers.com
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