This year's Farm Show butter sculpture depicts a farmer standing in a corn field with his child and a calf to depict the theme "Farmland Preservation." (Michael Bupp/The Sentinel)
'Butter sculpture has its roots in ancient Tibetan Buddhist art where these temporary creations symbolize impermanence. Impermanence is a basic tenant of Buddhism. The American form of this art has more to do with sideshows and agricultural fairs, yet serious and talented artists have worked in butter.
In the late 1800s Caroline S. Brooks of San Francisco enjoyed national attention for her work in butter and she became known as the "Butterlady". What was little understood was that her butter sculpture was but a first step towards sculpting a work in marble.
J. E. Wallace seems to be the butter sculptor of choice for early 20th century agricultural fairs where he often worked in large "coolers" holding as much as 2700 lbs. of ice to sculpt his 600 lbs. butter cows. Toward the end of the exhibitions as the butter began to melt it was often sold.
Today, Butter sculpture remains a popular attraction at many agricultural fairs across America.'
1923 Syracuse, NY Fair
Illinois state fair 1948
1925, Kentucky State Fair
1998 Butter Sculpture
Tulsa, Oklahoma State Fair