The 2023 butter cow display at the Ohio State Fair celebrates Ohio’s rich history of innovation and honors several notable Ohio inventors and their groundbreaking inventions that improved lives around the world.
Along with the traditional butter cow and calf, the display features butter sculptures of Thomas Edison with a light bulb and a phonograph, Garrett Morgan with a three-position traffic signal, Josephine Cochrane with a hand-powered dishwasher and James Spangler with a portable vacuum cleaner.
This year’s butter cow display was crafted from 2,000 pounds of butter by a team of Ohio-based sculptors in about 450 hours, of which 360 of those hours were spent sculpting inside the 46-degree cooler. The sculptors drew inspiration from this year’s theme and added innovative touches by illuminating the light bulb and traffic light, as well as including a transparent door on the dishwasher.
Presented by the American Dairy Association Mideast, the 2023 butter cow display is also a nod to the innovative spirit of Ohio’s dairy farmers, who are increasingly leveraging technology to make farms more efficient and sustainable. For example, new technologies on dairy farms help turn cow manure into valuable resources, such as clean renewable energy, natural fertilizer and soft bedding for cows.
About 500,000 fairgoers visit the Dairy Products Building at the Ohio State Fair each year to see the butter cow display and learn more about Ohio dairy farmers, while also enjoying ice cream, milkshakes and cheese sandwiches. To learn more about the butter cow display and the sculpting process, check out this video.