This Butter Cow sculpture made with 350 kg is a century-old tradition in Illinois

Each year the Illinois State Fair features its iconic 'Butter Cow', a life-size sculpture of the animal that this year was made from more than 350 kg of butter.

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Although animal carvings made from foods such as butter may be uncommon here, in many areas of the United States it is a centuries-old tradition. In Illinois, for example, it is a ritual that has been going on since 1922. It has become one of the main attractions of the Illinois State Fair, an annual agricultural event held in Springfield, the Illinois state capital. The 2023 edition takes place August 10-20, and the Butter Cow created for this year was recently unveiled.

It is a cow sculpture that has been made with more than 350 kg of unsalted butter. The theme used this year was “Harvesting the fun”. The creator of this realistic life-size figure was sculptor Sarah Pratt, who also added an Illinois dairy farmer named Lorilee Shultz, milking one of her cows. “It is a privilege to honor Illinois farm families by sculpting the famous butter cow each year,” Pratt said at the unveiling.

This tradition is a big event in the city. In fact, they have installed a 24-hour camera, which is available on the Internet for anyone who wants to see the butter cow.

And what do they do with the butter at the end of the fair?

During the fair, the sculpture is kept in a chamber at a suitable temperature so that the butter does not melt. But what do they do when the event is over? Far from being wasted, some of the more than 300 kg of butter is stored in an ice cream plant to be reused in next year’s sculpture. While some of it is also recycled into non-food items such as soap, tires and grease for metal forging.