Sculptor Sharon BuMann adds the finishing touches of spoiled butter to her creation. The 800-pound sculpture featuring a llama will be one of the main attractions at the Tulsa State Fair, which opens Thursday afternoon.
JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Sharon BuMann loves llamas, but don't spread that around.
BuMann will use more than 800 pounds of butter to create this year's Tulsa State Fair butter sculpture titled "Llots of Laughs." People will have their first chance to view her masterpiece when the fair opens its gates at 4 p.m. Thursday.
"The viewers get a chance to see fine art in an interesting medium," BuMann said.
BuMann, a New York native, has been a sculptor for more than 22 years and this is the third consecutive year that she has created a sculpture for the Tulsa State Fair.
Her creation is on display in the lower level of the Exposition Center during the 11-day fair, which runs through Oct. 8 at Expo Square.
BuMann said that although this is the first llama she has created, she really enjoys the animals.
"We are in the process of buying a farm, and I wouldn't mind having a couple of llamas myself," she said.
Her appreciation for the llama is evident in the intricate detail of her work. She re-creates the animal right down to its butter eyelashes.
BuMann traveled to a New York llama farm to research her sculpture. She photographed, sketched and measured real llamas to get the correct size and scope for her work, she said.
Before BuMann is finished with the sculpture, she will have logged more than 120 hours on the barnyard scene.
The comical butter-based scene contains a life-size llama, geese, chickens and a confused farmer. "The farmer is trying to milk the llama, and you don't milk llamas," BuMann explained.
A llama is used to protect herds of sheep and goats from predators, she said.
The sculpture, housed in a refrigerated glass case, is created with spoiled butter.
People always wonder if good butter is being wasted on the sculptures, she said. "However, when we get the butter it is close to its expiration date," BuMann said.
Spoiled butter is easier to work with, she said. The artist leaves the butter out at room temperature for several days before it is soft enough to sculpt.
As BuMann is putting the finishing touches on her project Thursday, fairgoers will have plenty to keep them entertained. Midway rides, craft exhibits and musical entertainment all began when the gates open at 4 p.m.
Warm and sunny weather is predicted for the beginning of the fair, said David Manning, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tulsa.
"It looks like a really nice few days," Manning said.
High temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 80s and skies will be mostly clear until at least Sunday, he said.
The fair's main event Thursday is Mazzio's Ultimate Ride Night, a promotion that will allow fairgoers to ride all midway rides all night for $10, including gate admission. A $10 discount on the deal is available at area Mazzio's restaurants.
Adult admission to the fair is $6. Admission for youths ages 6 to 12 is $3. Children under 6 are admitted free.
Nicole Nascenzi, World business writer, can be reached at 581-8315 or via e-mail at email@example.com.