Butter cow sculpting a family affair at the Iowa State Fair

State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa – There’s less than a week to go before the return of the Iowa State Fair, and this year, the traditional butter cow will pay tribute to the fair’s past.

Butter sculptor Sarah Pratt says, “We’re doing a Jersey cow, led by Joe Lyon. who passed away earlier this year. He was Norma Duffy Lyon’s husband and also a famed dairyman himself. The rest of the sculpture will be honoring the 50th anniversary of our giant slide. So, we’re really excited. It’s our family’s favorite thrill ride at the fair.”

Pratt is back for her 16th year sculpting inside the cooler in the Agriculture Building at the State Fairgrounds. She says she’s glad to be back after a year off and is glad to have some help too – her daughters.

“I took over for Norma in 2006. That was my first year as the lead sculptor. Hannah and Grace were two and a half and they are going to be seniors in high school this year, so they have literally grown up in the butter cooler and are now apprenticing and doing some of their own little projects here and there within the cooler and within the giant slide sculpture. It’s been fun to work alongside them,” says Pratt.

Another historic thing about this year’s sculpture is the butter itself. Pratt says this is the same butter that’s been used since 2005, Norma’s last year of sculpting.

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