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Butter Carving at Ohio State Fair

Butter Carving at Ohio State Fair

After making butter carvings of cows for 36 years, Dan Ross decided to create a final carving of himself with the cow in 1999. Photo Credit: Mike Munden – The Columbus Dispatch

Let’s add butter carving to our growing list of decorative food creations. In the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at the creative ways that lattes, watermelons and pizza can be used to make amazing food art.

Last month, while researching our blog about the upcoming food art festivals, we discovered the spectacular butter carving display at the Ohio State Fair. This year’s fair took place from July 24 to August 4, 2013.

Ohio State Fair Celebrates Over 100 Years of Butter Carving

Butter carving is not a new form of food art the Ohio State Fair. Since the early 1900s, various sculptors have used butter to create a cow. This traditional butter cow made its first appearance in 1903 and has been joined by various other butter creations over the years.

Butter Carving - Ohio State Fair

Bob Kling adds some last minute touches to his butter Furby in 2000 at the Ohio State Fair. Photo Credit: Doral Chenowith – The Columbus Dispatch


Butter Carving - Ohio State Fair

Two teenagers work on the butter cow at the Ohio State Fair in 2006. Photo Credit: Eric Albrect – The Columbus Dispatch

At last year’s bicentennial celebration, the cow stood alongside a calf and a birthday cake. Composed out of 1,900 pounds of butter, these three sculptures took 451 hours to create. The butter carvings stood on display in a 45-degree cooler in the dairy building the entire length of the fair before being melted and used to power utility vehicles at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Butter Carving - Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair bicentennial birthday cake made out of butter in 2012. Photo Credit: Associated Press.

Unveiling to the 2013 Ohio State Fair “Secret” Butter Sculpture

Butter Carving Displays at State Fairs Across the United States

If you don’t live near Ohio, there are other options for seeing these remarkable butter carvings. Many state fairs throughout the United States feature this specialized form of food art. From Iowa to Minnesota, a variety of animals, people and other objects are molded out of butter and put on display. Google your local state fair and butter carving to see if there’s a display in your area.

Learn to carve like a pro

3 Responses to Butter Carving at Ohio State Fair

  1. Michelle August 27, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    I watched a movie a few weeks ago called “Butter”.
    Jennifer Garner was the lead actress.

    • Nita August 27, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      We watched that movie, too. It was cute.

  2. Brenda jarmusz December 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    We saw the butter display at our Ohio state fair here in Columbus ohio. It was amazing.

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