It’s an Easter tradition that many Buffalo families participate in, but there’s one family in West Seneca that goes above and beyond when it comes to butter lambs. 

The Garbatowicz family may be the creators of the biggest butter lamb in Western New York, and they uphold those standards year after year. 

This year, the Garbatowicz family reunited for their annual Easter tradition to create a 22 lb butter lamb, and it is massive! 

For over 10 years, the Garbatowicz family has continued to make these enormous lambs, but Jomark Garbatowicz and his sister, Alanna Pokorski, will tell you that the tradition actually got started back in the ‘70s. 

“Our dad started this really in the mid ‘70s,” Pokorski said. “He wanted to create the biggest butter lamb.”

Joe Garbatowicz stood at 6’7, so you couldn’t miss Jomark and Alanna's father when he walked into the Broadway Market. He was a regular there, and he usually was looking for the largest butter lamb he could find. 

“He would always buy a butter lamb from the Broadway Market and have it on display in our home,” Pokorski said. 

People would always come over and take pictures with this huge lamb that Mr. Joe Garbatowicz would find, and it became a fond Easter memory for the family. When their father passed away in February 1983, Jomark and Alanna's tradition of celebrating in the butter lamb went away. 

But it was only temporary. 

Together, Jomark and his sister Alanna made a conscious effort to celebrate the memory of their father with their kids and other family members by having a day dedicated to the creation of Buffalo’s largest butter lamb. 

“Twelve or fourteen years ago, we picked it back up with our kids and our spouses,” Pokorski said. “Now we have an annual butter lamb day where we craft this 22 lb butter lamb.”

“Every year we get bigger and bigger,” Jomark Garbatowicz said. 

And the butter lamb will last the family quite some time, according to Garbatowicz. 


“We’ll basically cut it up, and divide it in half between the families,” Garbatowicz said. “We’ll freeze it, and then use that throughout the year to basically supply the family butter.” 

Everyone in the family has a dedicated role to the butter lamb creation process. 

The kids will unwrap all 80+ sticks of butter, and then they will stack the sticks of butter to begin forming a base for the lamb. Alanna's husband, Brian Pokorski, is responsible for a large majority of the lamb’s positioning and which way the lamb is looking. And then Alanna will team up with her sister-in-law, Sandy Garbatowicz, to create the fur on the lamb and do any other finishing touches. 

The Pokorskis may have married into the massive butter lamb tradition, but they added to the annual event by suggesting that the lamb get blessed at a church. It was a great idea that was suggested by Brian Pokorski’s late mother, Theo, who actually spent her time making mini butter lambs for the Sloan Senior Center. 

“Many years ago, my mom ran the Sloan Senior Center,” Brian Pokorski explained. “She would go there [during the Lenten season] and they would craft small, one-stick type butter lambs.”

Theo Pokorski, Brian’s mother, had a diagram of sorts to help create the lambs, so she was a key part of the creation process of the first big Garbatowicz-Pokorski butter lamb because she walked everyone through the process of creating your own butter lamb. 

“During the first year, she really helped kind of understand the process of it,” Brian said. “We just scaled it up and up and up….”

What are the odds that two creative people with butter history happen to find each other? I asked Brian and Alanna if they met over butter, and they laughed before Brian confirmed “it was a whole different story” as to how they met. 

However, Alanna did say that they are both Polish and are very committed to the Polish traditions, so it became natural to blend the two families together for this unique Easter tradition. 

Alanna's brother, Jomark Garbatowicz, is a big fan of the blend, and it’s one of his favorite parts about their annual Butter Lamb Day. 

“It’s really about gathering for Easter and getting everybody together,” Jomark said. 

If you want to see the butter lamb in person, it will be at St. Andrew’s Church in Sloan for a butter lamb blessing, since it is the church that Brian’s mother, Theo Pokorski, was a member of for many years. The priest will do a separate acknowledgement for the Garbatowicz-Pokorski butter lamb. 

And yes, they let you take pictures with the lamb after the mass. 🙂

You can see more of the butter lamb below. 

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