July 16, 2009

Jackson butter sculpture up to online vote

The Iowa State Fair is allowing residents to vote online on whether a butter sculpture of the late Michael Jackson will be displayed at the August event.

Fair organizers had originally announced the sculpture of Jackson would appear alongside the traditional life-size butter cow, a staple of the fair since 1911. But after objections from some residents the organizers said they are leaving the decision up to online voters at iowastatefair.org, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

We are not honoring him (Jackson) for his character, but recognizing his place in Iowa state history, fair spokeswoman Lori Chapell said.

Jackson performed at the Iowa State Fair with the Jackson 5 in 1971.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was among the groups to weigh in on the butter sculpture controversy, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported.

The group said it does not object to the Jackson tribute, but it says the sculpture, as well as the traditional cow, should be made from a non-dairy butter spread called Earth Balance or another vegan spread instead of butter.

The Iowa State Fair opens Aug. 13 in Des Moines.