The Pennsylvania Farm Show opens this weekend and after months of planning, its centerpiece has been revealed — a sculpture made from 1,200 pounds of butter.
Like every year, dairy farmers, state officials, and dairy princess pageant contestants stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the cavernous Farm Show complex in Harrisburg as the sculpture is unveiled.
The 2018 version shows a farmer, milk processor, agronomist, consumer, and a cow, figures designed to represent the theme “Strength in Diversity.”
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said people often have a very specific image in mind when they think of Pennsylvania agriculture — say, a rural farm in the midstate.
But he said this is meant to show that the industry’s impact is much bigger.
“It’s the men and women, it’s the rural and urban, it’s the folks who have beehives on their rooftops in Philadelphia, as well as farms in Lancaster County,” Redding said. “We want all of them to say, ‘that’s me.’ ”
Husband and wife team Marie Pelton and Jim Victor, of Conshohocken, have been making the Farm Show sculptures for years.
They said this one is the biggest they’ve ever done. They worked on it for two weeks straight.
“Normally we take New Year’s off, but this year we didn’t,” Victor said. “We had a lot of work, and this year we had to work right through.”
Why was there more work?
“More stuff,” Victor said simply. “Not only figures, but there was a cow in there we had to do.”
Pelton and Victor said they’re relieved to be finished, but can’t rest too long. Their next work—a chocolate sculpture for Hershey Chocolate World — is due in a few weeks.
The butter sculpture is available for viewing at the Farm Show in Harrisburg, which runs from Saturday, Jan. 6, through Saturday, Jan. 13.
After it’s over, the 1,200 lb. mass of butter will be shipped to a nearby dairy farm, where it’s turned to methane gas that’s used for energy.