(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – While Ohioans will have to wait another year to enjoy all the festivities at the Ohio State Fair, one of the fair’s oldest and most loved traditions will still be celebrated with the return of the DIY Butter Cow Challenge.
For the second year in a row, the American Dairy Association Mideast is inviting Ohioans to get out their chisels and become butter artists themselves with some help from the lead butter sculptor who has helped design and create masterpieces like the lunar module Eagle, Ohio State’s football national championship trophy and the Christmas Story leg lamp, all out of butter.
From July 19 through Aug. 8, novice sculptors are encouraged to comment with a photo of their butter cow on ADA Mideast’s Facebook page or share their image with #BuildYourButterCow and tag ADA Mideast’s Twitter or Instagram. The winning DIY sculpture will be announced Aug. 9, and one lucky sculptor will win a YETI cooler to keep their butter masterpiece chilled.
Paul Brooke, who has served as the butter cow display’s lead sculptor for more than 20 years, offers step-by-step video instruction to help butter cow enthusiasts sculpt their own mini cow. To get started, participants will need a pair of latex gloves, a 12” X 6” wooden board and at least two pounds of butter — quite a difference from the more than 2,000 pounds of butter normally used to create the annual butter display! You may also want to use some armature wire (.125 in. and .062 in.) and crafting tools to help you sculpt a truly authentic-looking butter cow.
“Creating the butter cow is something I truly look forward to every summer, and I love that I can share the joy of creating these unique sculptures with everyone. Perhaps there is a future butter sculptor among us who will get their start making their own mini butter cow, but even if you’re not an artist, everyone is guaranteed to have a lot of fun,” Brooke said. “The whole team is eager to get back to the butter cooler next year to come up with new ways of replicating iconic Ohio moments, symbols and history in butter that will amaze fair crowds.”
After you snap your photo of your completed mini butter cow, it will make a beautiful (and delicious) centerpiece on your dinner table or easily transform into creamy, herb-infused butter with one of ADA Mideast’s signature recipes, like Cilantro, Lime & Chile Salt Butter.
“So many of us have fond memories of seeing the butter sculpture display while enjoying an ice cream cone or milkshake in the Dairy Products Building,” said Jenny Crabtree, ADA Mideast’s senior vice president of communications. “We hope that families across the state will make their own butter cow sculptures together and share them with us to create the sense of fun and community that the butter display brings every year.”
The annual butter display is a long-standing tradition of Ohio’s more than 1,600 dairy farm families and is sponsored by ADA Mideast. It is the most visited attraction at the fair, and the theme of the display is one of the best-kept secrets of the summer.
Over the years, butter display themes have honored unique sources of Ohio pride such as sports championships from the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cleveland Cavaliers, locally-produced cinematic icons including A Christmas Story, and historic achievements by famous Ohioans, like Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 moon landing. And although we have celebrated it a little differently the past couple of years, the butter cow tradition lives on with the millions who have experienced this unique attraction.
The butter displays are brought to life each year by a technical sculpting team, all from Ohio, who spend more than 400 hours carefully chiseling every small detail in a 46-degree cooler. The displays have evolved along with the tradition, with sculptors creating increasingly elaborate designs to live alongside the butter cow and calf in the cooler. Sculptors have built intricate supports and integrated features like tinted butter and colorful lights in recent years, gaining national recognition and attention from media outlets across the country.
The annual butter display is also a memorable way to honor the work and contributions of Ohio’s dairy farm families. The display is always accompanied with information that enables fairgoers to learn about how Ohio’s dairy farmers care for their cows, their land, their environment and their communities. Even during uncertain times, dairy farmers are committed to continuing to produce the safe, delicious, wholesome dairy foods we all know and enjoy. Dairy farmers work around the clock, 365 days each year to care for their animals and keep our families and friends healthy, nourished and connected.
The butter display and the Dairy Products Building are made possible each year by ADA Mideast, Ohio’s dairy farmer-funded marketing and promotion program. For more information, visit www.Drink-Milk.com.