Apollo 11 Astronauts Are Being Honored With Butter Sculptures at the Ohio State Fair
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, its three astronauts are being honored in the most Midwestern way imaginable: with life-sized butter sculptures at the Ohio State Fair.
Along with the uncannily lifelike statues of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, there are also sculptures depicting a helmeted Neil Armstrong saluting the American flag next to the lunar module Eagle, a blown-up version of the official Apollo 11 patch, and the calf and cow that are showcased at the fair every year (this year, however, their ear tags read “Apollo”).
Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, CNET reports, and also bought an Ohio dairy farm after leaving NASA in 1971. He’s a big part of the reason Ohio feels a particular connection to space travel, but he’s not the only part—John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was born in Cambridge, Ohio, and later served as an Ohio senator. There’s even an image of an astronaut on Ohio’s state quarter.
Though the sculptures are life-sized, they’re significantly heavier than real people. Dairy farmers donated 2200 pounds of butter to create them, and they’re also supported by steel frames. To prevent softening, the artists spent 400 out of the 500 total work hours sculpting the display from inside a cooler at 46°F.
According to the American Dairy Association Mideast, which sponsors the exhibit, about half a million fairgoers will visit the Dairy Products Building from now through August 4 to see the butter sculptures and enjoy dairy-based foods like ice cream, milkshakes, cheese sandwiches, and good, old-fashioned milk. Past displays have honored the classic holiday film A Christmas Story, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ohio’s U.S. presidents, and many more Ohio-centric subjects.