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Apollo 11 astronauts receive a buttery tribute at the Ohio State Fair

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 14:17:58-04

You’ve probably heard the moon described as looking like it’s made of cheese, but a team of artists in Ohio took the dairy connection to the next level.

As part of the longstanding annual butter sculpture tradition at the Ohio State Fair, located in the state capital of Columbus, Cincinnati artist Paul Brooke and a team of sculptors paid homage to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by making life-size, butter sculptures of the astronauts involved in the mission.

Part of a series of butter sculptures — made out of more than 2,000 pounds of creamy goodness — one work features the three Apollo 11 astronauts — Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. Neil Armstrong saluting the American flag and the famous footprint left on the surface of the moon are also recreated with butter.

“The space suits were a real challenge, to be honest. It’s easy to sculpt things that you know. When you sculpt a human being you memorize it, so this was a challenge,” Alexander Balz, one of the artists involved in the project, told CNN affiliate NBC4 WCMH-TV.

Paul Brooke and a team of sculptors paid homage to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The scupltures are made of butter.

The American Dairy Association Mideast collaborated with the fair to commemorate the role that Ohio played in the world-famous mission. After all, Armstrong himself was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and raised in various towns across the state before leaving to explore outer space.

The beloved local tradition began with a focus on sculpting a cow and calf that honored the dairy industry in the state, so of course two striking Ohioan cows are also present in this year’s display case. The cow and calf tradition dates back 116 years to 1903.

For the first time, the cows are sporting ear tags frequently seen on the real-life animals. On one the word “Apollo” has been engraved, and on the other the number “11.”

But the Apollo 11 mission is not the only anniversary that the fair has recognized. In the past, tributes to the Olympics, the anniversary of the ice cream cone and several famous Ohioans have all been commemorated in butter form.

If you’re worried about what happens to the thousands of pounds of butter used every year, fear not. The fair exclusively uses butter that is past its expiration date for the carving and recycles it for use in biodiesel fuel and cosmetics upon the display’s conclusion.

The Ohio State Fair runs through August 4. Visitors can purchase tickets on the fair’s website ahead of time to enjoy the unique works of art and the rest of the attractions.