This week, a video of the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow went viral after viewers realized that the sculpture is not pure butter.
From statements saying, “Everything is a farce! The butter cow isn’t even sculpted out of solid butter,” to the more dramatic, “Don’t talk to me today. I’m still not over this butter cow fiasco,” the posts can be found all over social media.
News flash: A solid, 800-pound butter cow would likely be “cowed” by physics. Instead, wire, wood, and steel mesh frames hold hundreds of pounds of butter that are then crafted into the likeness of a cow and sometimes other figures.
Despite the outrage — it’s no secret. The structures underneath the buttery figures can be regularly found at fairs in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, and others. After their unveiling, many of these fairs are kind enough to give the sculptors credit by sharing videos of the process.
According to their website, the Iowa State Fair’s sculpture also uses 600 pounds of low-moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. Meanwhile, New York’s latest sculpture boasts 800 of the dairy-loving state’s butter products.
So why the assumption that butter cows are just straight butter? Well, we do call them “butter cows,” rather than “butter and bent metal cows.”
There is one fair that gives an exception to the rule, though. The Minnesota State Fair annually selects and crowns its annual Princess Kay of the Milk Way. This individual is lucky enough to have their entire head sculpted by Lisa Christensen, who, using the live models, sculpts solid butter heads in mere hours for display during the state’s fair.
The thing is, though, that these sculptures are a far cry from an 800-pound butter cow.
Have no fear; the butter has a place being repurposed. After being unveiled in August, this year’s butter cow will be softened and stored in buckets to be used again.
»Related: Iowa State Fair butter sculptures feature famous Iowa athletes