Buttergate? Social media up in arms over butter cow’s secret at Illinois State Fair

The Associated Press

As the iconic butter cow was deconstructed as the Illinois State Fair came to a close, one thing became clear.

The butter cow — a staple at the fair since 1922— isn’t made entirely of butter.

I can’t believe it’s not butter, indeed.

Its secret, hidden to some for a century, came to light in an Aug. 21 post on Twitter, now rebranded as X. The post, which shows butter being scraped off the constructed base of the cow, has more than 15 million views.

In what some social media users are referring to as ”Buttergate,” the cow’s non-butter base has the internet up in arms.

I feel deceived,” one user said. “It should have been a solid block of butter. If we cannot believe in butter cows, what can we believe in.”

“The disappointment I feel learning that the butter cow is not solid butter is akin to discovering Santa isn’t real,” another user said.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a whole lot of butter on that cow statue. The Illinois State Fair said 500 pounds of unsalted butter were used to sculpt the cow, a process that took five days.

The cow was sculpted by Sarah Pratt, a legacy dairy farmer whose daughter sculpted a butter calf.

While the Illinois State Fair is not clear on its website that the butter cow is not 100% butter, the neighboring Iowa State Fair comes clean about its own version.

The Iowa State Fair says its butter cow “starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low-moisture, pure cream Iowa butter.”

But for many, the realization these cows aren’t made of pure butter is a tough pill to swallow.

“Discovering the cow isn’t solid butter feels like losing my religion,” one person said on X.