Sponsored by dairy farmers, through American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., the most-highly anticipated annual Butter Sculpture at the 2014 The Great New York State Fair helped drive the need for milk donations to food banks. That solid message of the dire need by food banks for milk donations was visible to the 965,147 fairgoers, and to the nation through traditional and social media coverage.
Media outlets throughout central New York began speculating what the annual butter sculpture would be days before the unveiling. Once unveiled, the butter sculpture remained in the news and gained nationwide attention through an article in The Wall Street Journal. Throughout the Fair, the butter sculpture remained one its top must-see attractions according to State Fair officials. Almost two-thirds of surveyed fairgoers responded that they visited the butter sculpture this year.
“We know that the butter sculpture generates lots of attention each year, so we use it as a platform to talk about issues and messaging important for the dairy industry,” said Beth Meyer, of American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. “That’s part of our strategy, to create a sculpture that promotes our messaging and helps to sell more dairy.”
The theme of this year’s sculpture was The Great American Milk Drive. “The whole idea was to create awareness for the need for milk donations for foods banks and to help drive those donations,” said Meyer. New York State is one of the nation’s top milk producers but on average, food banks are only able to give about one gallon of milk each year to the families they serve. The media — and the masses — embraced the opportunity to promote the cause. News anchors, reporters, dairy princesses and celebrity chef Anne Burrell drew attention to the butter sculpture through their social media channels. Some even took selfies with the butter sculpture and posted the pictures to social media to encourage donations to The Great American Milk Drive.
Created from nearly 800 pounds of butter, the sculpture depicted a dairy farmer dropping off fresh gallons of milk at his local food bank. “I think it’s so simple, yet very intricate in the meaning behind the design,” said 2014 New York State Dairy Princess Casey Porter, of Watertown, who attended the butter sculpture unveiling. “We’re making sure we can provide milk to as many people as possible through the Great American Milk Drive.”
Money raised for Feeding American through The Great American Milk Drive will be used toward the purchase of milk coupons for local food banks to give to their clients.
“The Great New York State Fair brings together the best that New York’s agricultural industry has to offer — ultimately raising the profile of so many farmers, vendors and small business owners from across Upstate,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.