Another year, another Pennsylvania Farm Show: the butter sculpture has been unveiled at the 97th annual agricultural extravaganza beginning Saturday.
The 2013 butter sculpture is an array of Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products – among them, chicken, wood, wine, and mushrooms.
Dairy Princess Maria Jo Noble of Bradford County was on-hand for the unveiling, but she didn’t get an early look at what one presenter called the “buttery masterpiece.”
“We’ve been wondering like everyone else has what it would be,” said Noble. “Me and my teammates, the other Pennsylvania alternates have been wondering what it was, so no, I didn’t get a sneak peek.”
Montgomery County-based sculptor Jim Victor said the state Department of Agriculture instructed him to fashion a piece showcasing Pennsylvania’s top home-grown products.
“So there’s Pennsylvania Christmas trees in there and there’s maple syrup and there’s wine and there’s poultry and there’s you know all the stuff, the hard woods,” said Victor. “There’s even a bee on the back, there’s a honeycomb around the back of the thing.”
Maria Pelton, Victor’s wife, designed the sculpture. The husband-wife team has created the butter sculpture for at least the past 10 years. And, as with any art, Victor said this year’s sculpture came with its share of suffering. He pointed to one of the trees anchoring the back of the piece.
“That tree in there, you know? It was awfully sharp. I was really cutting my hands up like crazy making that tree,” Victor said. “I had to get really heavy duty rubber gloves just so I could avoid cutting myself to shreds.”
The offending element was the sculpture’s steel skeleton (though officials like to say it’s made from nearly 1,000 pounds of butter, it’s not solid dairy). After the Farm Show, the sculpture’s softer stuff will be converted into electricity by a Juniata County dairy farm.