SYRACUSE, N.Y. — “Back to School, Sports, and Play… You’re Gonna Need Milk For That” is the theme of the 53rd Annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair. As we take steps to get our youth back to a routine of academics and recreation, this year’s butter sculpture, sponsored by Wegmans, depicts how milk helps energize their return to “nearly normal” activities.
A recent GENYOUth impact study of the effects of COVID-19 on teens highlights three things young people have missed most since the onset of the pandemic:
- Activities that connect them to others
- Being able to stay close with their friends
- Participating in sports
This year’s three-part, butter masterpiece depicts teens in a school cafeteria, on a soccer field, and at home gaming. The scenes illustrate that whether in school, participating in sports or at play with their friends, dairy products are an important component of meals and snacks offering essential nutrients to power learning and fuel physical activities.
“Cow’s milk has unparalleled health and wellness benefits,” says Audrey Donahoe, dairy farmer from Clayville, N.Y., and President of American Dairy Association North East. “We’re proud to provide the fuel people need to power through their day, because no matter what your day looks like, ‘You’re Gonna Need Milk For That.’”
“You’re Gonna Need Milk For That” is a national industry campaign led by milk processors and supported by New York dairy farmers to reinforce the role milk plays in powering performance on and off the athletic field.
Since 2008, dairy farmers have supported New York’s high school athletes through their sponsorship of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) and their championships.
“New York Dairy farmers support NYSPHSAA student-athletes through nutrition education and sponsorship of our scholar athlete, sportsmanship and student leadership programs,” said Joe deGuzman, NYSPHSAA General Manager. “One of the highlights of any NYSPHSAA championship event is the student-athletes enjoying chocolate milk after a hard-fought contest. Proper nutrition including milk and dairy foods plays an important role in maximizing athletic performance.”
Richard A. Ball, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner said, “I am so pleased to be a part of the unveiling of the Butter Sculpture, a longtime tradition that marks the opening of The Great New York State Fair and celebrates our extraordinary dairy industry. This year’s theme pays tribute to the resiliency of New Yorkers and highlights the importance of dairy as a part of a nutritious diet. I encourage fairgoers to visit our Dairy Products Building, and enjoy the very best of New York dairy products, including ice-cold 25 cent milk, ice cream, and cheese, while viewing the Butter Sculpture display.”
“Wegmans is proud to sponsor this year’s Butter Sculpture, which is such an integral part of the New York State Fair,” said Evelyn Ingram, Director of Community Relations at Wegmans Food Markets. “We are delighted to once again be a participant in this long-standing tradition.”
The sculpture was constructed over a 10-day period by artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, using more than 800 pounds of butter from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Western New York. This is the 19th consecutive year Victor and Pelton have created the Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair.
Along with viewing the butter sculpture and enjoying some delicious dairy products, fairgoers can participate in an interactive “Milk Moves Me” photo booth in the Dairy Products Building and create a GIF of themselves sparring with U.S. Olympic Bronze medalist Ariel Torres, the first U.S. athlete to win a medal in karate.
Everyone who creates a GIF is automatically entered into daily prize drawings for “You’re Gonna Need Milk For That” swag items like t-shirts, hats and drawstring bags. Those who post their GIF socially with the hashtag #MilkMovesMe and tag @AmericanDairyNE will be entered into a “Gen Z Dream” grand prize drawing, which includes a custom dorm-size fridge, gaming headset, massage gaming chair, Apple AirPods Pro and of course, milk! Visit americandairy.com/nystatefair for contest rules and info.
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 in a methane digester to create renewable energy.
 The Impact of COVID19 on Teens. “One Year Later,” David Salinas, June 16, 2021.
–American Dairy Association North East
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