The Butter Cow
August 8, 2003 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Visitors to the current Illinois State Fair have the opportunity to see an American classic, the Butter Cow. This year's cow was sculpted over two days by Nancy Wise. You can watch the construction or live shots of its admiring public at the Butter Cow Cam. [more inside]
posted by Songdog (22 comments total)
Ms. Wise, known best as a cheese sculptor (and author of The ABC's of Carving Cheese), took over last year from acclaimed Butter Cow Lady Norma "Duffy" Lyon, who sculpted butter for fairs in eight states over four decades. In addition to her famous cows, Lyon has butter-sculped John Wayne, Elvis, a Harley, Wood's American Gothic, a Butter Last Supper, and more! Her biography, The Butter Cow Lady, is available online.
posted by Songdog at 1:08 PM on August 8, 2003

After the fair, the butter will be removed and reused in her next sculpture.

mmmmmm.......reusable butter
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:11 PM on August 8, 2003

wow... this link is REALLY going to freak out my vegan girlfriend.
posted by scarabic at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2003

A cow made of butter is cleverly recursive. That kind of self-referential metanarrative is pretty subversive for a midwestern state fair, you have to admit.
posted by vraxoin at 1:28 PM on August 8, 2003

pah, it's not ALL butter, the time lapse shows it starts with a frame. Amateurs, it also looks like two guys build it and she just finishes it off.....
posted by zeoslap at 1:30 PM on August 8, 2003

A cow made of butter is cleverly recursive.

Butter Elvis is less so. An Elvis sculpted from painkillers, however...
posted by samuelad at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2003

vraxoin, I'm waiting to see the cow made out of a manure-covered, methane-filled ballon, as a commentary on global warming and poor feedlot conditions... or the cow made out of chicken dung and animal byproducts, as a commentary on what meat is really made of. ;-)
posted by stonerose at 1:46 PM on August 8, 2003

How 'bout a sculpture of George W. made out of bullshit?
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:01 PM on August 8, 2003

I've been to this fair about 20 times - I'm surprised REO Speedwagon isn't playing....
posted by mildred-pitt at 2:13 PM on August 8, 2003

It's not just cows that get carved out of butter--at the Minnesota State Fair, the women vying to become Princess Kay of the Milky Way are all carved in butter. Far from being recycled, these sculptures apparently become family and community heirlooms:

"Each princess takes her sculpture home, and many end up in the family's freezer. Some are pulled out years later and used as centerpieces for weddings or anniversaries, while others are put to more functional use during community events like corn roasts and pancake breakfasts."

Ah, the wackiness of the Minnesota State Fair. Some of my best memories and deepest scars come from my visits and my time working there.
posted by Inkslinger at 2:15 PM on August 8, 2003

How 'bout a sculpture of George W. made out of bullshit?

Geez...can't we put a lid on the Bush hatred for just a few minutes to appreciate the butter cow?
posted by Durwood at 2:25 PM on August 8, 2003

posted by elwoodwiles at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2003

I hope it's not too political to add that the butter cow and its butter buddies were mentioned on The West Wing (search for "butter").
posted by Songdog at 3:03 PM on August 8, 2003

In Iowa this year, the butter cow just may don a black leather jacket.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2003

I saw the cow in person last summer -- quite impressive. It's really for the best that they reuse the butter. You really wouldn't want to eat it after all it's been through.
posted by me3dia at 3:32 PM on August 8, 2003

*pulls out hot knife*
posted by planetkyoto at 3:32 PM on August 8, 2003

From the West Wing link:
C.J.: Butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, butter.

Now, that's screenwriting!
posted by languagehat at 3:38 PM on August 8, 2003

Here's a link [Warning: Real Player] to a CBS News Report from the Iowa State Fair. You get a good look at the butter Harley Davidson motorcycle.
posted by jaronson at 4:39 PM on August 8, 2003

Not that anyone was askin' for a good look at the Harley Davidson motorcycle butter sculpture.
posted by jaronson at 4:45 PM on August 8, 2003

We've done butter sculptures before, but really, what haven't we done? (I still can't believe they're not margarine.)

And at least one photo of the 800-pound "Heroes of September 11th" butter sculpture, which I saw at the 2002 Pennsylvania Farm Show, still is available on line.
posted by LeLiLo at 5:39 PM on August 8, 2003

Can't hold a candle to the butter Neil Armstrong at the Ohio State Fair that I remember from my youth...

Ahhh... Good times...
posted by jpburns at 5:57 AM on August 9, 2003

Aw shucks, lelilo, I was so careful, and it was one of mjj's posts to boot. I just hope one more little pat doesn't hurt.
posted by Songdog at 6:13 AM on August 9, 2003

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