This year’s butter sculpture celebrates Ohio’s connection to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The themed display portrays distinct moments from the first moon landing. A life-size sculpture of Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong salutes the American flag after planting on the moon’s surface, standing next to the the lunar module Eagle.

It also includes a life-size sculpture of the entire space crew; Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit beside the traditional butter cow and calf.

>> Photos: The 2019 Butter Cow

Five artists worked together to create the display, including lead sculptors Paul Brooke and Alex Balz of Cincinnati. The team of artists worked about 500 hours to craft the sculptures in time for Wednesday’s fair opening.

The butter cow debuted at the state fair in the early 1900s and found a permanent home in the Dairy Products Building in the 1920s. Themes were added in the 1960s.

The 2018 theme celebrated the 35th anniversary of the classic film, “A Christmas Story.” This American Dairy Association Mideast chooses the display’s theme.

The butter sculptures are stored in a cooler at 46 degrees Fahrenheit in the Dairy Products Building. It keeps about 2,200 pounds of butter solid.

But you won’t want to taste these works of art. The butter, donated in part by Dairy Farmers of America, is past its expiration date and will be recycled after the fair.

According to the fair’s website, the spoiled butter can be refined into an ingredient used in products such as biodiesel, animal feed, tires and cosmetics.

The Ohio State Fair runs Wednesday through August 4 at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair grounds, 717 E 17th Ave. Maps, parking guides and performance schedules are available on the fair’s website.

spoulin@dispatch.com

@stephaterese