Today marked the opening of the annual Illinois State Fair in Springfield, IL, which returns after its cancelation in 2020—the first time that the event has been canceled since World War II. Governor J.B. Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker were in attendance at the fair to unveil one of the most iconic fixtures of the event: an 800-pound sculpture of a cow made entirely of butter.
Known at the Butter Cow, the dairy-based model is the 100th carving of a bovine, continuing an annual tradition that began at the Illinois State Fair in 1922. House inside of a refrigerated case at the Dairy Building, this year's rendition was created by sculptor Sarah Pratt with 800 pounds of salted butter donated by Illinois-based Prairie Farms Dairy. Rotating in its display case (which was a bit foggy upon its unveiling, due to the summer heat), the sculpture will be on view at the Illinois State Fair until August 22—and we're not exactly sure how all that butter is disposed of.
Can't make it out to Springfield to see the Butter Cow in person this year? Thanks to the miracle of digital technology, you can experience the slowly spinning sculpture from your internet-connected device via the State of Illinois's Butter Cow webcam. Yes, the twirling pile of carefully-sculpted churned cream is available to gaze at whenever you're feeling down, need to see a feat of human ingenuity or can't figure out what to spread on your toast—but only until August 22.
The Butter Cow webcam is just one of several webcams that are trained at various areas of the Illinois State Fair this year, including one at the top of a giant slide, a view of the swine barn and a look at the cow-milking station. Sadly, there is no piglet webcam this year—apparently all the cute little piggies are feeling a bit camera shy.
If you do make the journey to Springfield in the coming week, you can eat a funnel cake covered with toppings, witness something called the "Jetpack Flying Water Circus" or see ticketed performances from the likes of Toby Keith and Bret Michaels.
Or you could just stay home and stare at the Butter Cow's leisurely pivots.