There is a lot to see and do at the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, but we all know who the real star is: the massive butter sculpture at the center of it all in the Main Hall. We can’t quite put our finger on it, but there is something special about hundreds of pounds of creamy, yellow butter worked into realistic figures that people just go crazy for.
Every year, the butter sculpture has a different theme and shape — the 2023 butter sculpture, which was revealed at a ceremony on Thursday, January 5, follows the 2023 PA Farm Show’s theme “Rooted in Progress.” It depicts multiple generations of a dairy farming family enjoying a moment together against the backdrop of the family farm, celebrating their hard work producing food for their community in a sustainable way.
Detailed and impressive as always, the 2023 butter sculpture is sponsored by the American Dairy Association of the Northeast, with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Land O’Lakes (which donates the tons of butter each year!).
Who makes this sculpture? How much does it weigh? What happens to all of the butter after the PA Farm Show has ended? Here are six unbelievable facts about the PA Farm Show butter sculpture, so you can learn everything you’ve always wanted to know about this amazing feat of dairy artistry!
1. The 2023 butter sculpture was made by husband-and-wife artists, Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, PA. This duo has been responsible for designing and fabricating the butter sculpture since 2008. Victor and Pelton specialize in food sculpture, and have made works of art out of cheese, chocolate, produce and more!
- Victor’s work has been featured not only once, but twice, on the game show Jeopardy!
2. The butter sculpture weighs more than 1,000 pounds. Hard to imagine just how much half a ton really is? The weight is the same as:
- 116 gallons of milk
- One telephone pole
- 40, 32″ flat-screen TVs
- 1,000 regulation size footballs
3. It would take the work of 359 dairy cows in one day to create the amount of milk necessary (a whopping 2,518 pounds) for the butter sculpture. That’s enough butter to make:
- 96,000 pancakes
- 26,000 croissants
- 120,000 chocolate chip cookies
4. Even if you love butter, it would take you over 175 years to eat the butter sculpture. That’s — wait for it — 3,258,000 calories!
5. After the PA Farm Show, the sculpture will be deconstructed and moved to Reinford Farms in Juniata County, PA. Sadly, it will not be used for a giant baguette party. Instead, it will be recycled into energy in the farm’s methane digester, which converts food waste and manure into energy to power the farm.
6. Butter sculptures are nothing new! In the U.S., they’ve been around as features of agricultural and state fairs since the 19th century. They’re also an ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition: Yak butter and dye are used to create temporary symbols for the Tibetan New Year and other religious ceremonies.
Pretty incredible, right? Don’t forget to stop by the butter sculpture at the PA Farm Show this year to see this marvel for yourself — and don’t forget to tag your photos on social media with #PAFarmShow and #PAFS2023!
- Photos: PA Cast