The 2011 Iowa State Fair begins tomorrow in Des Moines. Centerville and Appanoose County will have a special representative on the fairgrounds in addition to Appanoose County Fair Queen Molly Gheer.
Her name is Miss Buttermilk Pancake, and she is only two feet tall and weighs around 100 pounds. She is part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Butter Cow. The Iowa State Fair commissioned a limited number of concrete tribute cows to be displayed throughout the fairgrounds this year to commemorate the tradition of the butter cow that is such an integral part of Iowa State Fair lore.
Centerville High School art teacher, Tatum Marcussen, heard about the project during a morning news broadcast back in May. She asked several of her 2011 seniors who had painted a Pancake Day mural in Centerville in the spring if they wanted to apply for the chance to paint a cow. They decided to use the same design as the mural.
“We had to send in a packet of information including a detailed drawing of what each side of the cow would look like, paint colors and an essay, which we wrote about Pancake Day and how important it is to Appanoose County,” said Marcussen.
The group applied in May to design and paint one of the commemorative cows and paid a $60 entry fee. They found out in June that Centerville High School had been selected and were excited to begin work.
“We had to pick the cow up from the fairgrounds in July and return it only two weeks later,” said Marcussen. “We worked on it everyday for a week and a half, during the Appanoose County Fair, which is always a busy time. We had a lot of fun painting on the non-traditional canvas. It was a challenge but the outcome was totally worth it.”
According to Marcussen, Miss Buttermilk Pancake is one of 30 cows of her size that will be on display. There will also be 30 slightly larger cows, standing 32 inches tall, spread throughout the fair grounds.
“The paint we used is exterior latex since the cows will be displayed outside and scattered around the fairgrounds,” said Marcussen. “And of course, we added a tiara for extra flair.”
The group hopes that everyone who goes to the fair will search out Miss Buttermilk Pancake.
The Centerville cow will be in Zone 1, near the horse barn.
Marcussen said she hopes the cow will make people interested in checking out Centerville and Pancake Day.
There will be prizes awarded for first, second and third place in the categories of novice and professional. The awards are based on originality, creativeness and overall look, but haven’t been announced at this time.
“We still don't know about winners but we are just pleased to have been chosen to participate,” said Marcussen.
After the fair is over, Miss Buttermilk Pancake will be returned to Centerville to live out the remainder of her days at home.
“I think she will be an art room mascot,” said Marcussen.
The Iowa State Fair runs Aug. 11-21.