State Fair sculpture uses O-At-Ka butter
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State Fair sculpture uses O-At-Ka butter

Aug 31, 2015

GEDDES — In 2014, the New York State Fair butter sculpture kicked off the Great American Milk Drive, which resulted in more than 22,000 gallons of milk being donated in the state.

And Wednesday morning, this year’s state fair butter sculpture was unveiled as a thank you to everyone in New York who donated milk to needy families through the milk drive. The sculpture is called “Thanks for the Milk, Moo York.”

Made of 800 pounds of unsalted butter from O-At-Ka Milk in Batavia, the sculpture shows a dairy farmer, milk processor and retailer each holding gallons of milk. There also are key New York state sites, such as Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty and the Carrier Dome.

This is the 47th annual butter sculpture at the state fair and it traditionally is one of the most popular sites to visit during the 12-day run of the fair, which opened Wednesday and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 7. It is in the Dairy Products Building at the fairgrounds in Geddes, outside Syracuse.

This is the 13th year artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pa., have worked on the sculpture. This is probably the tallest sculpture they have done, since the top of one of the milk bottles in the piece is only about a quarter inch from the top of the butter sculpture’s refrigerated room.

“It’s 77 inches high,” Pelton said. “In 2012, the sculpture about Greek yogurt during the summer of the Olympics was 2 inches below the grate.”

As part of the Great American Milk Drive and thanking people for their previous donations, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, which sponsors the butter sculpture, also is asking people to donate extra quarters when they buy cups of milk at the fair’s Rainbow Milk Bar.

The additional donations will go toward purchasing milk for food banks and food pantries so needy families can obtain milk. The Rainbow Milk Bar also is in the Dairy Products Building and sells cups of white or chocolate milk for 25 cents.

“We live in one of the top-producing milk states in the country, yet many families aren’t getting the nutritious, wholesome milk they want to provide for their children,” said dairy farmer Sarah Noble-Moag, of Pavilion. “The Great American Milk Drive helps draw attention to that need and makes it easy for people to donate, both in store and online,” she said.

The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council is conducting an Instagram Selfie Contest to help spread the word about the need for milk donations. Take a selfie in front of the butter sculpture with your cup of milk from the Rainbow Milk Bar and tag it “givemilktoo.”

Each day of the fair, one winner will be selected to receive a $50 gift card for dairy products and a $50 donation will be made to a local food bank to help it purchase milk.

One second-prize winner will win an Apple Watch. And one grand-prize winner will receive an Ultimate Buffalo Bills Fan Weekend package, including access to pregame practice, an overnight hotel stay in Buffalo and four tickets for the Bills versus the Houston Texans.

Go to for more contest information.

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