The annual tradition began in 1969 when William Clements transformed a pile of butter into a cow jumping over the moon. The creators may have changed over the years but the butter sculpture remains with a new theme each year.

The American Dairy Association North East went live on Facebook Tuesday afternoon to unveil the sculpture for the 2021 Fair Season. This year's butter sculpture has the theme of "Back to School, Sports, and Play: You're Gonna Need Milk For That."

The sculpture illustrates kids playing sports, sitting in a cafeteria and in the classroom, because dairy products provide all of the nutrients to help with school, sports and play.

Jim Victor and Marie Pelton have been carving the butter sculpture every year for 19 years. For 10 and a half days, they sculpted the 800 pounds of butter.

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The butter used each year is scrap and unsuitable to sell or eat and underneath are steel rods and mesh welded and bent into the sculpture shape. When the fair is over, the butter will be recycled in a methane digester so it can be used to create electricity and liquid fertilizer for crops.

New York State Fair Butter Sculptures Through the Years

Take a look at the Butter Sculptures over the years at the New York State Fair.

Butter Sculptures at NYS Fair

1969: Cow Jumping Over the Moon (William Clements)
1970: Dairy Princess and Butter Churn (William Clements)
1971: Commissioner of Agriculture and Cow (William Clements)
1972: Lifeguard and Girl (William Clements)
1973: Dairy Princess Coronation (William Clements)
1974: Carousel (William Clements)
1975: Juggler (William Clements)
1976: Little Miss Muffet (William Clements)
1977: The Magic Cow (William Clements)
1978: Kids on Skateboards (William Clements)
1979: Disco Dancers (William Clements)
1980: Milk Run Marathoners (William Clements)
1981: The "Real" Seal (William Clements)
1982: Dairy Do-Si-Do (William Clements)
1983: The Fitness Cycle (William Clements)
1984: Milk Bottle Centennial (William Clements)
1985: Soccer Player (William Clements)
1986: Darryl Strawberry (William Clements)
1987: Tom Sawyer (Raymond Mackintosh)
1988: Cow Jumping Over the Moon (Raymond Mackintosh)
1989: Wizard of Oz (Raymond Mackintosh)
1990: Original Fair Arch (Raymond Mackintosh)
1991: Boy with Double Dip Cone (Raymond Mackintosh)
1992: The Olympic Dream (Raymond Mackintosh)
1993: Kids from Camp Good Days & Special Times (Raymond Mackintosh)
1994: Pizza Tosser (Raymond Mackintosh)
1995: Everybody Loves Milk & Cookies (Duke Epolito)
1996: Everything's Better With Butter (Sharon BuMann)
1997: The Ultimate "got milk" Moment (Sharon BuMann)
1998: Milk Memories (Sharon BuMann)
1999: Midnight Snacking (Sharon BuMann)
2000: Little Rascals (Sharon BuMann)
2001: Milk Maid: Queen for a Day (Sharon BuMann)
2002: The Pride of New York (Sharon BuMann)
2003: Mixin' It With Milk (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2004: Love for the Land (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2005: Milk, Moms and Morning (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2006: Healthy Goals (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2007: Dairy Farming Today (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2008: Cow Jumping Over the Moon (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2009: Cow Power (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2010: Dairyville 2020 (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2011: Feeding Our Future (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2012: New York Goes for the Gold with Greek Yogurt (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2013: Getting Fresh with Local Dairy (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2014: The Great American Milk Drive (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2015: Thanks for the Milk, Moo York! (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2016: Milk Life Celebrates The Success of Team USA and the Athletes of New York State (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2017: Dairy Farmers' Tribute to New York State Troopers (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2018: Your Milk Comes From A Good Place (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2019: Milk. Love What’s Real. (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)
2020: Nourishing Our Future (Jim Victor and Marie Pelton)

From A To Z: New York State Fair Food Vendors

Here's a look at select food and drink vendors at the Great New York State Fair from A-Z. You can always get a complete list online here.

New Fried, Baked, Glazed and Slathered Snacks to Enjoy at the New York State Fair

Check out the new wild food creations you can try at the New York State Fair this year.

New Highway Workers Memorial Under Construction at NY State Fairgrounds

memorial to New York highway workers killed in the line of duty