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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Diversity-themed butter sculpture unveiled at the PA Farm Show

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 4, 2018 4:23 PM

The 1,200 pound butter sculpture is molded over a frame made of metal, wood, and styrofoam. Its creators say it took two weeks of nonstop work to make. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Farm Show opens this weekend and after months of planning, its centerpiece has been revealed -- a sculpture made from 1,200 pounds of butter.

Like every year, dairy farmers, state officials, and dairy princess pageant winners stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the cavernous Farm Show complex in Harrisburg as it was unveiled.

The 2018 version shows a farmer, milk processor, agronomist, consumer, and a cow, figures designed to represent the theme "Strength in Diversity."

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said people often have a very specific image in mind when they think of Pennsylvania agriculture--say, a rural farm in the midstate.


Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding speaking before the unveiling of this year's diversity-themed butter sculpture. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

But he said this is meant to show that the industry's impact is much bigger.

"It's the men and women, it's the rural and urban, it's the folks who have beehives on their rooftops in Philadelphia, as well as farms in Lancaster County," Redding said. "We want all of them to say, 'that's me.'"

Husband and wife team Marie Pelton and Jim Victor, of suburban Philadelphia, have been making the Farm Show sculptures for years.


Jim Victor and Marie Pelton are sought-after artists who primarily create food sculptures. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

But they said this one is the biggest they've ever done. They worked on it for two weeks straight.

"Normally we take New Year's off, but this year we didn't," Victor said. "We had a lot of work, and this year we had to work right through."

Why was there more work?

"More stuff," Victor said simply. "Not only figures, but there was a cow in there we had to do."

Pelton and Victor said they're relieved to be finished, but can't rest too long. Their next work--a chocolate sculpture for Hershey Chocolate World --is due in a few weeks.

The butter sculpture is available for viewing at the Farm Show in Harrisburg, which runs from Friday, January 5, to Sunday.

After it's over, the 1,200 mass of butter will shipped to a nearby dairy farm, where it's turned to methane gas that's used for energy.

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