© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WVXU Stories

Ohio State Fair Retells 'A Christmas Story' With... Butter?

State fairs are a lot about tradition: there's the food, the music, the competitions and the rides. And at the Ohio State Fair, there's a tradition that honors other traditions. This year's butter cow sculpture is paying tribute to a movie with deep Ohio connections.

Jenny Hubble with the says this year marks the 35th anniversary of A Christmas Story, the 1983 holiday flick filmed in Cleveland. 

"We have the famous leg lamp. We have Ralphie in his bunny suit that Aunt Clara gave him. There is his little brother Randy in the snow suit where he can't put his arms down." Hubble says the scene were Flick was "triple dog dared" to put his tongue on a frozen flagpole is included, with an assist from the butter calf.

Artists included lead sculptors Paul Brooke and Alex Balz of Cincinnati; Tammy Buerk of West Chester, OH; Erin Swearingen of Columbus and Matt Davidson, a dairy farmer from Sidney, OH.

Hubble says butter has been sculpted at the Ohio State Fair since the early 1900s. She says the butter cow and butter calf were added annually in the 1920s.

This year, sculptors used 2,200 pounds of butter for the display in the Dairy Products Building. Hubble says the butter was past the expiration date and wasn't going to be sold.

After the fair is done, the butter is recycled. "We work with a company that a lot of fast food restaurants work with to recycle their cooking oil," she explains. "The butter is refined into a product that can then be used in animal feeds, cosmetics, tires, and fuel." 

In the meantime, the butter sculptures are on display in a walk-in cooler with a constant temperature of 46° Fahrenheit. The cooler also has the blue-ribbon cheeses from the fair's cheese contest.

The runs until August 5 in Columbus.

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit .

A calf sculpted from butter, (left), joins Flick, from "A Christmas Story," also made from butter, at the Ohio State Fair.
Courtesy American Dairy Association Mideast /
/
A calf sculpted from butter, (left), joins Flick, from "A Christmas Story," also made from butter, at the Ohio State Fair.
The butter sculpture this year honors the 35-year-old Chrismas classic.
Courtesy American Dairy Association Mideast /
/
The butter sculpture this year honors the 35-year-old Chrismas classic.