STATE WIDE--At the Indiana State Fair Sarah Kaufman is known as “The Cheese Lady”. Since 2006 she’s been coming to the fair and carving sculptures made from American cheese. Her latest sculpture was unveiled Wednesday.
“Cheese greetings to you,” she says, bright, cheery, and pure Wisconsin.
She began her stint as the fair’s cheese sculptor after having worked for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin along with Cindy Hoye, who is the executive director of Indiana’s state fair.
“She said, ‘We need Sarah Kaufman here at the fair’,” she said. “Now we’re tradition!”
LISTEN: Sascha Nixon takes you to the fair with The Cheese Lady
If you’ve never seen a cheese sculpture it might be worth your time to see what this year’s effort has produced. The life-like and nearly life-sized artistic reproductions of the human subjects she covered this time around, are gathered in a group behind an IndyCar and a giant bottle of milk under a tent marked “American Dairy Assoc. of Indiana”, and “Sarah Kaufman”.
“I came up with a cutie, a wow. It’s really nice if I do say so myself,” she said. “So, we have Josef Newgarden and we have dairy farmer Kerry Estes and dairy farmer Janice, whose on the board at the dairy farmers of Indiana (officially the American Dairy Assoc. Indiana).”
Kaufman said she was somewhat nervous sculpting real people.
“I haven’t done real live people in a long time for Indiana,” she said. “So, that was a huge challenge, cause guess why. They have to look like the people.”
LISTEN: Sascha Nixon talks with The Cheese Lady (interview)
You can be the judge of whether she met that goal. The sculpture may not be permanent (heck, it’s made out of food), but the cheer and enthusiasm Kaufman has for her work seems inimitable.
“I didn’t expect it to be this happy!”
She says she’d love to be able to pass on the skills, the craft and the art by teaching cheese sculpting. It may seem cheesy. But, Kaufman created a slice of Americana right here in Indiana.