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      SPOILER ALERT: What is this year's State Fair butter sculpture?

      2011 Butter Sculpture, New York State Fair / Courtesy: Craig McDowell

      It is one of the most highly-anticipated events of the New York State Fair: the unveiling of the butter sculpture. We got our first glimpse at the sculpture this morning.

      This year, the butter sculpture pays tribute to school feeding programs. "Feeding our Future" honors the School Nutritional professionals who prepare more than 2.3 million meals for students every day across the state. It is created from 800 pounds of unsalted butter and features healthy breakfast items like milk, fruit, cereal and yogurt from a cafeteria line.

      "An affordable, nutritious breakfast is available in almost every school in our state - from simple items such as milk, cereal, fruit and yogurt, to hot items like French toast or bagel and egg sandwiches," said Frances O'Donnell, of the State Education Department Child Nutrition Program."

      "People might be surprised to learn the amount of nutrition that's provided by a school meal," said Artie Frego, president of the New York State School Nutrition Association. "In fact, any meal purchased by a student must feet strict nutritional guidelines."

      The sculpture is the creation of Jim Victor. "It's a 10 day project," Victor said. "I work at least 8 hours a day on the sculpture." This year, his wife Marie Pelton assisted him in the creation of the butter sculpture.

      When the fair is over, the butter will find new life by turning corn's best friend into fuel - biodiesel - as part of a joint collaboration between the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council and SUNY-ESF. The sculpture is expected to yield more than 90 gallons of fuel, which will be used to transport SUNY-ESF students.

      As an additional thank you, fairgoers are invited to nominate their favorite school food worker for a day of pampering at a local spa. Details are available at the Dairy Princess booth in the Dairy Products Building. You can also click here for information. The contest runs from August 24th-September 15th.

      Here are some fun facts about the butter sculpture. It weights in at about 800 pounds, or as much as:

      - 25,600 empty half pints of milk or 1600 full chocolate milk cartons- 27 cases of American cheese- 3200 four-ounce yogurts- 12,800 pairs of plastic gloves- 3,200 kitchen aprons- about 8 newborn calves

      800 pounds of butter is:

      -one days' work from 287 cows, or 10 months work from one cow- 2,000 gallons of milk- average butter consumption is around 4.5 pounds per person, per year. At that rate, it would take more than 177 years to eat that much butter

      For more than 40 years, the butter sculpture has been a big attraction at the Dairy Products building. Past sculptures have featured Santa Claus, the Family Milkman and the Pride of New York. Last year's butter sculpture depicted a small farming community.

      The butter sculpture is a sight to be seen. It's kept in a refrigerated glass case in the Dairy building. It's something you won't want to miss.

      What do you think about this year's butter sculpture? Do you plan to see it at the fair? Leave your thoughts below.