Aug 1, 2023 - State Fair

Ask Axios: What happens to the Iowa State Fair butter cow?

The butter cow at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 17, 2019. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Welcome back to our "Ask Axios" series, where we answer all your burning questions.

Q: "What do they do with all the butter from the sculptures after that fair? Surely it's disposed of, but wow, that's a lot of butter ... to just toss in a dumpster?" — Kristin Adkins, Brooklyn

A: Most of the butter actually isn't thrown out. Instead, it's reused by sculptor Sarah Pratt for up to 10 years, according to the Iowa State Fair.

Yes, but: If you're wondering how it smells after all those years, it's not great.

  • The smell of the aged butter is a spectrum between parmesan and blue cheese.
  • "Think of your favorite aged cheese," Pratt told the Washington Post. "I try to reframe people’s minds, so they don't just think, "rancid butter."
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