Annual butter display captures iconic moments from first moon landing and honors Ohio-born astronaut Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 moon landing memorialized in out-of-this-world butter art

Fifty years after the first moon landing, the pivotal moment in American history is being honored at the Ohio State Fair — in butter.

Yes, butter.

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This year’s butter display at the Ohio State Fair was revealed today. The butter display is a long-standing tradition of Ohio’s nearly 2,000 dairy farm families.

The butter display captures historic moments from the July 1969 mission when astronauts first landed on the moon and took steps on its surface.

Images of that day were re-created in butter, including a full-scale sculpture of Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong standing next to the lunar module Eagle and saluting the American flag after planting it on the moon’s surface.

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The sculptures are made from more than 2,200 pounds of butter, capturing the most memorable moments from the July 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Full-scale models of the entire Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, are sculpted in butter at the Ohio State Fair. CONTRIBUTED BY THE OHIO STATE FAIR

“Those who remember the moon landing often recall exactly where they were and how they felt, and the 50th anniversary is the perfect time to pay tribute to this amazing event and share that excitement with a new generation,” said Jenny Hubble, senior vice president of communications for the American Dairy Association Mideast.

“Ohio also has a special connection to that day, as one of our own took the first-ever steps on the surface of the moon.” 

The butter display includes a life-size sculpture of Neil Armstrong, a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio, standing next to the lunar module Eagle and saluting the American flag after planting it on the moon’s surface.

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This year's butter calf dons an ear tag, which dairy farmers use for cow identification and record keeping, that honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. More than 500,000 people are expected to visit the annual butter display at the Ohio State Fair. CONTRIBUTED BY THE OHIO STATE FAIR

The 2019 display also includes a butter sculpture of the entire spacecraft crew: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and, of course, the traditional butter cow and calf. 

Sculptors worked inside a 46-degree cooler for about 400 of the 500 hours it took to complete the display. The sculptors began by welding steel frames to support the weight of the butter. From 55-pound blocks, the butter is layered on the frames. After many hours of molding and smoothing the butter, each sculpture begins to take shape. Fine details are added last.

The moment Ohio native Neil Armstrong saluted the flag after planting it on the surface of the moon is commemorated in butter at the Ohio State Fair 50 years after the Apollo 11 mission. CONTRIBUTED BY THE OHIO STATE FAIR

The 2019 display was crafted by a group of five Ohio-based technical sculptors, including lead sculptors Paul Brooke and Alex Balz of Cincinnati, Tammy Buerk of West Chester, Erin Swearingen of Columbus and Matt Davidson, a dairy farmer from Sidney. OSU student Karen Tharp, an MFA candidate in ceramics, also assisted the sculpting team this year.

The display is located in the Dairy Products Building, where they can also learn about Ohio’s dairy farmers and enjoy Ohio-produced dairy foods including ice cream, milkshakes, cheese sandwiches and milk.

The fair runs July 24 through Aug. 4.

The annual butter display honors the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and includes sculptures of Neil Armstrong saluting the American flag next to the lunar module, the full Apollo 11 crew, the official Apollo 11 patch and the traditional butter cow and calf. CONTRIBUTED BY THE OHIO STATE FAIR

Want to go?

WHAT: Ohio State Fair

WHERE: The Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus

WHEN: July 24 through Aug. 4

INFO: FacebookWebsite

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