Unveiling of ‘Butter Cow' Celebrates 100 Years of Illinois Tradition

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The treasured "Butter Cow" sculpture was unveiled in the Dairy Building of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, marking the 100th year of the unofficial Illinois tradition, the state fair announced.

The Butter Cow, which is a highly photographed object at the fair, features the Dairy Building theme “Embracing Tradition” and has been constructed to signify the 13 essential nutrients found naturally in milk, by having 13 hearts hidden into the mold, the fair said.

Along with the heart, the cow features a young person embracing the animal.

“After a year where the world stopped, I felt including an exhibitor embracing the cow signifies the joy our youth are experiencing as they return to the fair,” said Sarah Pratt, 2021 Illinois State Fair Butter Cow sculptor. “You only get one chance to celebrate the 100th anniversary and hope this year’s Butter Cow will invoke those feelings of nostalgia people have experienced for generations.”

The Butter Cow is a life-sized figure made from 500 pounds of unsalted butter and has historically taken about five days to complete. 

The iconic sculpture will remain on display in the Dairy Building for the duration of the fair and be viewable live via the Butter Cow webcam.

The Illinois State Fair runs from Thursday to Aug. 22. 

Visit IllinoisStateFair.info for more information. 

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