SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The “Butter Cow” for the 2023 Illinois State Fair was unveiled on Wednesday.
Sculptor Sarah Pratt’s creation was unveiled in the Dairy Building on the fairgrounds. It brings 2023’s “Harvest the Fun” theme to life, including dairy farmer Lorilee Shultz in the sculpture.
The Orangeville, Illinois, farmer took over dairy operations from her grandfather, with her daughter Lucy also playing a role around the farm. For that reason, a second sculpture of Lucy with a calf is featured in the original butter cow display case.
“It is a privilege to honor Illinois farm families by sculpting the famous butter cow each year,” Pratt said. “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.”
Thirteen hearts have been hidden between the two displays to signify the 13 essential nutrients found naturally in milk.
“The Illinois State Fair is a great tradition that truly showcases our state’s agriculture community,” said Midwest Dairy Manager Kendra Anderson. “The butter cow sculpture is one of my personal favorite attractions because it is the perfect ode to the hard-working Illinois dairy farm families who produce delicious and nutritious dairy products for all to enjoy. The dairy industry is deeply rooted in the great state of Illinois, and this is the perfect way to shine a spotlight on that tradition.”
The sculpture will remain on display for the duration of the fair. Those who cannot attend in person should not fear, as there is a live stream of the butter cow.
“The butter cow is a destination for many families during the Illinois State Fair, so it is only fitting that this year’s sculpture portrays a dairy farm family right here in Illinois,” said Jerry Costello II, Illinois agriculture director. “From family Christmas cards to family farmers, to the family that sculpts this icon, the butter cow represents what is at the heart of Illinois agriculture and that is family.”
The Illinois State Fair runs from August 10-20.