This story is part of the Curious Cbus project. You ask the questions, and WOSU investigates to get the answers.
Every summer, the beginning of the Ohio State Fair is marked by the unveiling of a new butter sculpture. And every year the question inevitably arises: "What happens to all the butter from the butter cow and the butter sculptures at the Ohio State Fair when the fair is over?"
On the surface, the answer is simple: It’s thrown away. But the disposal of the butter sculpture hasn’t always been that simple, and it isn’t as wasteful as it seems.
Jenny Hubble from the American Dairy Association explains that the butter used for the sculpture was never intended to be sold.
“The butter that we use in the display is past its expiration date,” Hubble said. “So it was never butter that was intended to go to the marketplace, so it’s a great way to use that product and be able to use it for this promotion at the state fair.”
When the fair ended, Hubble said the butter was packed up and disposed of properly.
But in years past, the State Fair and the American Dairy Association teamed up with Mount Union University, recycled the butter and turned it into biodiesel. That is no longer the case.
“Because it’s only 2,000 pounds of butter, which seems like a lot to you and me, it really was difficult to collect that butter off the armatures and utilize it for fuel,” Hubble said.
The American Dairy Association Mideast announced the 2017 butter sculptures, which include four high school athletes as well as two cows, is a "salute to chocolate milk." The sculpture stars a 6-foot-tall bottle colored with cocoa to look like the beverage.
It's the first time the butter sculpture has included color. The dairy association says five sculptors spent about 500 hours creating the display.
The previous year's butter sculptures were handcrafted to honor the 2016 NBA Champions, The Cleveland Cavaliers.
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