800-pound 'Butter Cow' sculpture returns to Illinois State Fair

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Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Illinois State Fair unveiled one of the annual event's most beloved and unusual perennial attractions: an 800-pound cow sculpted from butter.

The 102nd Butter Cow was officially unveiled by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.


This year's unveiling ceremony featured Pritzker using a squeegee to wipe the condensation off the cow's glass case.

The current iteration of the Butter Cow depicts the bovine being milked by Illinois dairy farmer Lorilee Shultz from Mill-R-Mor Dairy in Orangeville. A second sculpture in the same case shows Shultz's granddaughter, Lucy, taking care of a calf.

The 2023 Butter Cow was sculpted by artist Sarah Pratt.

"It is a privilege to honor Illinois farm families by sculpting the famous butter cow each year," Pratt said in a news release. "This year it has really come full circle for me personally. My own daughter Grace sculpted the additional sculpture of Lucy and her calf. Family is at the heart of Illinois farms and to be able to honor that, while working alongside my 19-year-old daughter passing down this tradition to her is precious."


The Illinois State Fair opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 20. The Butter Cow can be observed in real-time for the duration of the fair via the state's Butter Cow webcam.

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