55th Annual American Dairy Association North East Butter Sculpture Unveiled: Dairy Every Day is a Healthy Way – Keeping Kids’ Health on Track

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — “Dairy Every Day is a Healthy Way – Keeping Kids’ Health on Track” is the theme of the 55th Annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair. This year’s butter sculpture, sponsored by Wegmans, highlights the important nutritional role dairy foods play in helping brains, bones and bodies grow.

With a whimsical approach, the butter sculpture depicts a train being conducted by a cow and carrying young passengers fueling up on dairy foods. The train’s signage calls out “milk, yogurt and cheese” as vital ingredients in children’s diets, all of which are essential to achieve healthy growth, strengthen immune systems and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

According to Keith Ayoob, Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, who participated in today’s unveiling, children are falling short of the essential nutrients provided by milk and dairy foods. “Many studies show that kids are not getting enough calcium and Vitamin D, and milk along with dairy foods like yogurt are a top source of these essential nutrients.”

“As kids head back to school, it’s an ideal time for parents to get their children’s health on track by pairing dairy products with other nutrient rich foods to fuel their days for learning in the classroom and playing sports,” said John Chrisman, CEO American Dairy Association North East. “Dairy farmers are strong supporters of children’s health through school nutrition programs and programs that combat food insecurity.”

Richard A. Ball, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner noted, “Unveiling the Butter Sculpture is one of my favorite traditions at The Fair and a wonderful way to honor our dairy farmers who work so hard to feed our families and bring healthy products to our communities every day. I encourage all of our parents and children to get on board with building healthy habits through dairy—it’s a great way to ensure our young people are getting the nutritional benefits they need to succeed and to support New York’s dairy community.”

“Wegmans is once again proud to sponsor the annual Butter Sculpture and delighted to be a part of this long-standing tradition,” said Evelyn Ingram, Director of Community Relations at Wegmans Food Markets. “This year’s theme is an important reminder to parents and caregivers as they prepare meals and snacks for their kids both in-home and on the go.” 

This year’s kid-focused sculpture incorporates colors on the station sign and rail cars. Artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania constructed the sculpture over an 11-day period using more than 800 pounds of butter from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Western New York.

Along with viewing the butter sculpture and enjoying some delicious dairy products, fairgoers can visit American Dairy Association North East’s website for tips on pairing nutritious dairy foods with fruits, vegetables and protein for healthy back to school meals and snacks. 

After The Fair, the sculpture will be deconstructed, with assistance from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, and transported to Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, N.Y., where it will be recycled into renewable energy.

Each month, Noblehurst Farm’s massive recycling program turns over 500 tons of food waste from supermarkets, universities and schools into enough energy to power the farm and over 300 local homes in the community. The recycling program not only reduces the farm’s carbon footprint, it diverts food waste from landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Visit americandairy.com/nystatefair for more New York State Fair-related information.