SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – State leaders and guests of honor announced the 2022 Illinois State Fair Butter Beef on Wednesday afternoon. The theme of this year’s fair is “Growing With Us” and this is the 101st iconic butter cow.
The butter cow always brings great excitement to the fair’s dairy building. Some might say this year’s bull has a peculiar design.
This cow display brings together famous farmers, land and animals. You will also notice that the cow has a large sunflower in its mouth as the young farmer directs to other flowers near it.
Thirteen hearts are also hidden throughout the butter display to represent the 13 nutrients found in milk. Fairgoers have enjoyed finding little hearts in butter for several years.
Governor JB Pritzker thanked sculptor Sarah Pratt for designing the butter cow over the past six years. Pratt spends a week inside the fridge making cows every summer.
“Every year I am drawn to her artistry. She didn’t just build us a cow,” said Pritzker. “She created the entire scene and Sarah demonstrated her commitment to sustainability by using only recycled butter.”
In fact, this year’s display is made from over 800 pounds of recycled butter.
Pritzker also credits Illinois dairy farmers for their work throughout the year and provides popular items such as ice cream, soft cones, and custards on the dairy facility.
Everyone has a chance to win a 3D printed butter cow this year if they discover everything new in the display building at the fair.
“For many families, this 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 goes into this piece of pottery every year.”
The State Fair officially opens on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and sunset parade. Still, many see the iconic butter cow’s debut as the start of the fairground season.
Pratt explains that the design for 2022 is personal to her because she recently moved into a house with an area and started planting a garden.
“Through that experience, I was inspired to put a farmer on land that would allow the cow to grow,” says Pratt.
Governor Juliana Stratton said the fair was the perfect time to celebrate the state’s farmers and producers.
“With all the work they are doing for our state, we can say that our growers, producers, and farmers are truly the bread and butter of Illinois,” Stratton said. “And I can say that about 94% of our farmers and dairy farms are family owned, operated and employ more than 117,000 people in our state.”
Pritzker says the “Grow with Us” theme is a good fit for Illinois because the state is experiencing higher job growth and sustainability for its buildings and roads. The governor even joked that “Grow with Us” might be the new state motto of Illinois.
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