As the Mummers Parade has taught us, when it comes to tasteful representations of Flyers mascot Gritty, there is little margarine for error.
So it is with some relief we can report that Gritty received a more appropriate tribute at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, where the annual butter sculpture was unveiled Thursday, featuring Gritty — and Eagles mascot Swoop and Steely McBeam (of the Pittsburgh Steelers).
Fashioned from half a ton of donated butter, this year’s sculpture is the work of Jim Victor and Marie Pelton, who have been making the Farm Show butter sculptures for nearly 20 years.
The theme of the sculpture is “East Meets West at the Pennsylvania Farm Show” and uses the popular sports icons to show “mascots from the east and west coming together to celebrate,” said Diana Dibble, vice president of Consumer Communications.
The State Department of Agriculture tweeted that the “sculpture encourages Pennsylvanians to be a fan of Pennsylvania dairy and give a cheer to the more than 6,200 dairy farmers of the commonwealth.”
This year’s farm show opens Saturday. Gritty, Steely, and Swoop will truly merge into one when the show concludes Jan. 11, and the sculpture is taken to a farm in Juniata County and dumped into a methane digester. The device that converts organic material (often manure) into gas can be used to run a generator producing electricity. Most folks find Gritty to be a gas — soon this will be literally true.
The Farm Show bills itself as the country’s largest indoor agricultural event and includes 12,000 competitive exhibits. New to the show this year are "hard cider sales, an expanded rabbit competition, and a waterfowl habitat with live ducks.” Admission is free, but there is a fee for parking in Farm Show Complex lots.
The butter is off limits to diners, but there is a food court featuring “hemp seed tea, gluten-free meatballs, grilled cheese sticks, and new mushroom sandwiches, served like Philly cheesesteaks.” The $5 milkshakes are free on Jan. 9 for those with active duty military and veterans’ identification.