Udderly beautiful: 2022 Illinois State Fair butter cow unveiled

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - State leaders and honored guests unveiled the 2022 Illinois State Fair butter cow Wednesday afternoon. The fair’s theme this year is “Grow With Us,” and this is the 101st iconic butter cow.

The butter cow always brings a great churn-out to the fair’s dairy building. Some may say this year’s cow has a moovelous design.

This bovine display brings together farmers, land, and the famous animal. You’ll also notice that the cow has a large sunflower in its mouth as the young farmer tends to the other flowers near it.

Thirteen hearts are also hidden throughout the butter display to signify the 13 nutrients found in milk. Fairgoers have loved searching for the mini hearts in the butter for several years.

Gov. JB Pritzker thanked sculptor Sarah Pratt for designing the butter cow for the past six years. Pratt spends a week inside the cooler to craft the cow each summer.

“Every year I am gobsmacked by her artistry. She doesn’t just craft us a cow,” Pritzker said. “She creates an entire scene, and Sarah has shown her commitment to sustainability by only using recycled butter.”

In fact, this year’s display is made up of over 800 pounds of recycled butter.

Pritzker also recognized Illinois dairy farmers for their work throughout the year and for supplying popular items like ice cream, soft serve cones, and cream puffs in the dairy building.

People have an opportunity to get a 3D printed butter cow this year if they explore everything new in the expo building at the fair.

“For a lot of families, it is not a trip to the Illinois State Fair unless they see the iconic butter cow,” said Illinois Agriculture Director Jerry Costello. “I am amazed by the thought and detail that is put into this buttery creation every year.”

The State Fair officially kicks off Thursday with the ribbon-cutting ceremony and twilight parade. However, many see the unveiling of the iconic butter cow as the start of the fair season.

Pratt explained the 2022 design is personal for her since she recently moved to a home with acreage and started growing a garden.

“Through that experience, I was inspired to include a farmer growing on the land that in turn allows the cow to grow,” Pratt said.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton said the fair is the perfect time to celebrate the state’s farmers and producers.

“With all of the work that they do feeding our state, we can say that our growers, producers, and farmers are really the bread and butter of Illinois,” Stratton said. “And I can tell that about 94% of our dairy farmers and farms are family-owned and operated and employ over 117,000 people in our state.”

Pritzker said the “Grow With Us” theme is quite fitting for Illinois since the state is experiencing greater job growth and sustainability for state buildings and roads. The governor even joked that “Grow With Us” could be the new state motto for Illinois.

The Illinois State Fair runs from August 11 to August 21. You can find more information by clicking here. If you can’t make the fair, you can enjoy a live webcam of the butter cow here.

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