Every now and then there will be news of a passing that should only have relevance to a certain region. This would happen to be one of those instance if it wasn't for the national recognition that the Iowa State Fair had been getting in the past several years. So it was definitely relevant national news when we heard the "Butter Cow Lady" is gone.
Famed butter sculptor Norma Lyon passed away early Sunday after suffering a stroke She was 81-years-old.
I didn't even realize that the Butter Lady was that old. Even though she had seemingly been doing the sculptures for years so it should have been obvious she wasn't a spring chicken. In all actuality, she had been doing the sculpture since 1960. Ever since she first visited the State Fair in 1959, saw a butter sculpture and knew she could do better.
There are some things with the Iowa State Fair that have been staples for quite some time. One of them was the wisecracking clown at the Midway which they got rid of last year. Another was the butter cow sculpture that sat in the same building year in and year out. No matter how hot it got during those August days, you could always count on that butter cow remaining intact.
Not only that but Norma always found a way to switch things up a little over the years. It was more than just the butter cow. One year it was joined by a commemoration of the moon landing. One year Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson was there in butter. Then there was the year that there was supposed to be a Michael Jackson butter sculpture. That idea eventually got squashed due to ignorant folks protesting it. That's Iowa for you though.
It will be interesting to see what they will do this year at the State Fair and year's to come. Will someone else step in and try to fill Norma's shoes with a butter sculpture of their own? It just won't be the same if they do. Maybe they should look at starting a different tradition. Norma's butter sculptures were a Iowa State Fair tradition that don't ever deserve to be imitated.
Rest in peace, Norma.