The American Dairy Association Mideast’s annual butter cow display is back, featuring a few more species — and just look at that leg wool! Each year, the butter sculptures are created to reflect positive ideals or cultural trends in Ohio. This year’s sculptures feature a number of livestock species in front of a painted livestock show ring mural. The display honors youth livestock exhibitors and the fair’s and state’s rich history of agriculture.
The Ohio State Fair is home to the largest butter display of any fair in the country. Since 1903, the butter cow and calf sculptures have been a key feature of the fair, transitioning from a sculpting contest into an annual, permanent attraction in the Dairy Projects Building built in 1925. The displays typically include about 2,200 pounds of butter — but this year’s is the biggest yet, with 2,530 pounds of butter used to craft livestock and youth.
The display is housed in the Dairy Projects Building at the Ohio Expo Center. The large, walk-in refrigerator maintains the sculptures at a cool 46 degrees. The Dairy Projects Building also features a menagerie of dairy foods, including the Ohio State Fair’s official ice cream flavor — Red, White, and Blueberry.
Using 55-pound blocks of butter, technical sculptors craft displays viewed by over 500,000 people annually. Among the sculptors is dairy farmer Matt Davidson from Sidney. On hold since 2019, the last butter display featured the moon landing. Other displays throughout the years have included a Christmas Story, chocolate milk, state symbols, the Ohio State Fair youth choir, sports teams, and more.