Dairy Association Takes State Fair’s Butter Cow Tradition to Social Media

The Ohio State Fair has been canceled, but the American Dairy Association Mideast is still making room for butter cows via a contest on social media.

Just because there’s no Ohio State Fair this year doesn’t mean there won’t be an outlet for fans of the giant butter cow sculpture that traditionally gets featured at the annual event.

And it’s all thanks to some clever thinking on the part of the American Dairy Association Mideast.

The association is sponsoring a contest to encourage the public to make a (tiny) butter cow of their own in the throes of social distancing, and share the results on social media.

The #BuildYourButterCow contest, which started this week, will take place through August 9, with the winners of the contest announced on August 10.

Unlike at the state fair, the butter cow that contestants build won’t have to be life-size. That’s a good thing, because generally, that cow takes more than 400 hours to produce in a temperature-controlled 46-degree cooler and is made using a 2,000-pound chunk of butter. (Based on some back-of-the-napkin math, buying 2,000 pounds of butter in a store would cost consumers just shy of $2,000—if they could even find that much.)

Instead, the association is aiming for a more realistic metric.

“The winner will be awarded based on their ability to follow the contest rules, as well as their creativity,” the association stated on its contest page. “This means we will check to make sure you have followed our social pages and used the proper ingredients to the best of our knowledge.”

For those looking to start sculpting, the association created an instructional video highlighting how to produce a butter cow. (Necessary ingredients: a wood board, sculpting wire, pliers, and butter.)

Paul Brooke, the lead butter cow sculptor for the Ohio State Fair, noted in a statement that the loss of the annual event created an opportunity for creativity that didn’t exist before.

“It’s something I’m truly proud to be a part of and have been lucky enough to enjoy each year for a long time,” Brooke said, according to “It will be fun to share that feeling of accomplishment with everyone this year, and I can’t wait to see how their mini butter cows come together.”

Even if you don’t win, it’ll be a more interesting act of social distancing than usual.

(American Dairy Association Mideast)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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