The coronavirus pandemic may have canceled the New York State Fair, but the annual butter sculpture lives on with its latest creation revealed for 2020.
The American Dairy Association North East unveiled the butter sculpture via Facebook Live this morning entitled “Nourishing Our Future.” The artwork depicts two vignettes. On one side a dairy farmer providing milk to a child learning at home with his mother and teacher, present virtually on the laptop. On the other side a child is learning in school with a school nutrition worker delivering a meal tray to the classroom.
Housed in its traditional spot inside the Dairy Products Building, this is the fair’s 52nd butter sculpture.
Dairy artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton have crafted every butter sculpture at the New York State Fair since 2003. The husband-and-wife team take around 10 days to complete their creations, using some 800 pounds of New York state butter.
The butter for the sculpture this year was sourced from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia. New York is the fourth-leading producer of milk in the country, according to Progressive Dairy with 15.1 billion pounds of milk in production each year.
The American Dairy Association along with the NYS Fair have sponsored a series of contests for fans this year including the #VirtuallyButterTogether Instagram photo contest, the Undeniably Dairy Shake-Off, and the butter sculpture contest.
Participants in the butter sculpture contest can build their own creation using up to five pounds of butter and must submit a picture of their masterpiece at the contest site on NYS Fair’s Facebook page by Sept. 4. Artwork must be “family-friendly and non-political” and cannot use food coloring or other methods to change the color of the butter. Full contest details can be found on the contest site.
First prize winner receives lifetime admission to the fair, along with eight passes for the 2021 fair, a $25 Wegmans gift card, and a prize pack from Cumulus Radio and 93Q. Second through fifth place will also receive a series of prizes.
Winners of the #VirtuallyButterTogether contest were “present” at the unveiling with lifesize cardboard cutouts of themselves at the event. They also received Chromebook computers and free pizza for a year.
After the unveiling, the butter sculpture will be deconstructed and transported to Noblehurst Farms in Livingston County. The “scrap butter” cannot be eaten or sold and will be recycled in a methane digester–along with food scraps and cow manure–to create electricity and liquid fertilizer for crops.
Full list of New York State Fair butter sculptures:
1970: Dairy Princess and Butter Churn (William Clements)
1971: Commissioner of Agriculture and Cow (William Clements)
1972: Lifeguard and Girl (William Clements)
1973: Dairy Princess Coronation (William Clements)
1974: Carousel (William Clements)
1975: Juggler (William Clements)
1976: Little Miss Muffet (William Clements)
1977: The Magic Cow (William Clements)
1978: Kids on Skateboards (William Clements)
1979: Disco Dancers (William Clements)
1980: Milk Run Marathoners (William Clements)
1981: The “Real” Seal (William Clements)
1982: Dairy Do-Si-Do (William Clements)
1983: The Fitness Cycle (William Clements)
1984: Milk Bottle Centennial (William Clements)
1985: Soccer Player (William Clements)
1986: Darryl Strawberry (William Clements)
1987: Tom Sawyer (Raymond Mackintosh)
1988: Cow Jumping Over the Moon (Raymond Mackintosh)
1989: Wizard of Oz (Raymond Mackintosh)
1990: Original Fair Arch (Raymond Mackintosh)
1991: Boy with Double Dip Cone (Raymond Mackintosh)
1992: The Olympic Dream (Raymond Mackintosh)
1993: Kids from Camp Good Days & Special Times (Raymond Mackintosh)
1994: Pizza Tosser (Raymond Mackintosh)
1995: Everybody Loves Milk & Cookies (Duke Epolito)
1996: Everything’s Better With Butter (Sharon BuMann)
1997: The Ultimate “got milk” Moment (Sharon BuMann)
1998: Milk Memories (Sharon BuMann)
1999: Midnight Snacking (Sharon BuMann)
2000: Little Rascals (Sharon BuMann)
2001: Milk Maid: Queen for a Day (Sharon BuMann)
2002: The Pride of New York (Sharon BuMann)
2003: Mixin’ It With Milk (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2004: Love for the Land (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2005: Milk, Moms and Morning (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2006: Healthy Goals (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2007: Dairy Farming Today (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2008: Cow Jumping Over the Moon (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2009: Cow Power (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2010: Dairyville 2020 (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2011: Feeding Our Future (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2012: New York Goes for the Gold with Greek Yogurt (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2013: Getting Fresh with Local Dairy (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2014: The Great American Milk Drive (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2015: Thanks for the Milk, Moo York! (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2016: Milk Life Celebrates The Success of Team USA and the Athletes of New York State (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2017: Dairy Farmers’ Tribute to New York State Troopers (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2018: Your Milk Comes From A Good Place (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2019: Milk. Love What’s Real (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2020: Nourishing Our Future (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)