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Butter Cow

In 1903, the first-ever butter cow and calf sculptures were featured at the Ohio State Fair when they were entered into a butter sculpting contest sponsored by The Ohio State University and the Dairy Processors of Ohio. The subjects of this early contest were not restricted to specific subject matter, but the life-size cow sculpted by A.T. Shelton & Company, distributors of Sunbury Co-Operative Creamery butter, became such a popular attraction that it later became a permanent attraction.

Eventually, the butter cow and calf found a permanent home in the Dairy Products Building which was built in 1925. New cow and calf sculptures have become a time-honored tradition. They are created each year, along with a mystery sculpture that reflects the positive ideals and cultural trends in Ohio.

Fun Facts

  • A temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained inside the cooler.
  • Each year, approximately 500,000 people visit the Dairy Products Building to see the butter sculptures and enjoy dairy products.
  • Artists often use more than 2,200 pounds of butter and spend upwards of 500 hours working on creating the butter sculptures each year.
  • The Ohio State Fair is home to the largest butter sculpture display of any fair in the country!
  • The American Dairy Association Mideast uses butter past its expiration date and not able to be consumed.
  • The delicious ice cream served in the Dairy Products Building is the same brand of ice cream served in the Taste of Ohio Cafe!


  • The 2022 Butter Cow Sculpture was the largest display ever at the Ohio State Fair
  • The 2022 display used 2,530 pounds of butter
  • The 2022 display took about 600 hours to complete

Some previously featured butter sculptures include:

  • 90th anniversary of the ice cream cone
  • A bald eagle
  • A Hasbro Tonka Truck
  • A salute to the armed forces
  • A tribute to Ohio’s dairy farmers
  • A tribute to The Ohio State Buckeyes
  • A tribute to the Olympics
  • Darth Vader
  • Dave Thomas of Wendy’s
  • Furby
  • Jack Nicklaus
  • John Glenn
  • Mr. Monopoly
  • Neil Armstrong
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Columbus Bicentennial birthday cake
  • A tribute to the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir
  • A tribute to Ohio symbols
  • A tribute to the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
  • A salute to chocolate milk
  • A tribute to the movie, A Christmas Story
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