This year’s Ohio State Fair has, par for the course, giant butter sculptures—but this year it has butter astronauts carved to celebrate the recent 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
Per CNET, visitors to the fair (which began on July 24 and runs until Aug. 4 in Columbus, Ohio) can see huge butter carvings of Apollo 11 crewmembers Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. There’s also a separate sculpture depicting Armstrong saluting the American flag next to the Apollo 11's Eagle lunar module on the moon’s surface, complete with a butter version of his footprints in the lunar regolith. (As CNET noted, Armstrong hailed from Wapakoneta, Ohio and bought a dairy farm in the state after his 1971 departure from NASA.)
Per the Associated Press, the butter astronauts are accompanied by the traditional butter cow and calf (cows did not travel to the moon in 1969, or space in general since, but the ones in the exhibit do sport Apollo ear tags). CNET noted that the sculpture took a team of five sculptors some 500 hours to make, 400 of which took place in a cooler set to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius).
“Those who remember the moon landing often recall exactly where they were and how they felt, and the 50th anniversary is the perfect time to pay tribute to this amazing event and share that excitement with a new generation,” American Dairy Association Mideast senior vice president of communications Jenny Hubble said in a statement. “Ohio also has a special connection to that day, as one of our own took the first-ever steps on the surface of the moon.”
“The sculptors begin by welding steel frames to support the weight of the butter,” the dairy association told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “From 55-pound blocks, the butter is layered on the frames. After many hours of molding and smoothing the butter, each sculpture begins to take shape. Fine details are added.”
The dairy association said that some 500,000 visitors are projected to visit the Dairy Products Building where the sculptures at held by the fair’s conclusion on Aug. 4, where foodstuffs including “ice cream, milkshakes, cheese sandwiches and milk” will be for sale.