The Iowa State Fair's butter cow has had only five sculptors in it's lifetime. The first was J.K. Daniels, followed by J.E. Wallace, Earl Frank Dutt, Norma "Duffy" Lyon, and now Sarah Pratt who has been at it since 2006.

Here are some facts about the butter cow and some of the companion sculptures that join it at the Iowa State Fair:

  • The sculpture consists of 600 pounds of pure cream butter packed onto a wood, metal, and wire frame. That's enough butter for 19,200 pieces of toast.
  • The butter can be reused for up to 10 years.
  • The butter cow has produced milk before thanks to a pump.
  • Butter sculpting was halted across the nation during World War II due to butter shortage.
  • The older the butter, the better. It's more workable, like clay.
  • The cow is sculpted at room temperature and then set in a cooler for 20 minutes. When properly refrigerated, the butter can stay in place for four to six weeks.
  • Unsalted butter was used in the past, salt was thougt to attract moisture and cause cracking. Salted butter is used today as it acts as a preservative.
  • The first Iowa State Fair butter sculptor was John K. Daniels, he lived to be 103-years-old.
  • Food coloring was used for 2006's Superman and 2008's Shawn Johnson sculptures.
  • The Iowa State Fair and its butter cow were featured in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die."
  • The ears of the butter cow are not supported by wire and are at risk of falling off.
  • The 2009 tribute to Neil Armstrong featured a TV encased in butter.
  • The first butter cow was sculpted in 1911.
  • 1999's butter version of "The Last Supper" was made out of 2,000 pounds of butter.
  • The butter cow's legs, hooves, and ears are the last pieces to be sculpted.

Here's Sarah Pratt doing her thing:


Read more at The Des Moines Register.