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.