Lifestyle Livestock

2021 N.Y. State Fair butter sculpture celebrates the hope to reconnect


Built around the theme “Back to School, Sports, and Play … You’re Gonna Need Milk For That,” the 53rd annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair has been unveiled by American Dairy Association North East. The sculpture, sponsored by Wegmans, depicts how milk helps energize young people’s return to “nearly normal” activities.

A recent GENYOUth impact study of the effects of COVID-19 on teens highlights three things young people have missed most since the onset of the pandemic:

  • Activities that connect them to others
  • Being able to stay close with their friends
  • Participating in sports
Image courtesy of American Dairy Association North East

This year’s three-part, butter masterpiece depicts teens in a school cafeteria, on a soccer field, and at home gaming. The scenes illustrate that whether in school, participating in sports or at play with their friends, dairy products are an important component of meals and snacks offering essential nutrients to power learning and fuel physical activities.

“Cow’s milk has unparalleled health and wellness benefits,” says Audrey Donahoe, dairy farmer from Clayville, New York, and President of American Dairy Association North East. “We’re proud to provide the fuel people need to power through their day, because no matter what your day looks like, ‘You’re Gonna Need Milk For That.'”

“You’re Gonna Need Milk For That” is a national industry campaign led by milk processors and supported by New York dairy farmers to reinforce the role milk plays in powering performance on and off the athletic field.

Since 2008, dairy farmers have supported New York’s high school athletes through their sponsorship of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and their championships.

The sculpture was constructed over a 10-day period by artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, using more than 800 pounds of butter from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Western New York. This is the 19th consecutive year Victor and Pelton have created the Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair.

Along with viewing the butter sculpture and enjoying some delicious dairy products, fairgoers can participate in an interactive “Milk Moves Me” photo booth in the Dairy Products Building and create a GIF of themselves sparring with U.S. Olympic Bronze medalist Ariel Torres, the first U.S. athlete to win a medal in karate.

Everyone who creates a GIF is automatically entered into daily prize drawings for “You’re Gonna Need Milk For That” swag items like t-shirts, hats and drawstring bags. Those who post their GIF socially with the hashtag #MilkMovesMe and tag @AmericanDairyNE will be entered into a “Gen Z Dream” grand prize drawing, which includes a custom dorm-size fridge, gaming headset, massage gaming chair, Apple AirPods Pro and of course, milk! Visit for contest rules and info.

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