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by Karin L. Nauber

karin@inhnews.com

Princess Kay of the Milky Way...

It all began with an idea by Lew Conlon who managed the Minnesota Dairy Industry Committee in 1954. That was the year that the name “Princess Kay of the Milky Way” was selected to be the title of Minnesota’s dairy princess who would represent the dairy industry for one year after being crowned the day before the Minnesota State Fair. The first Princess Kay was crowned in 1954. 

If you are not familiar with this competition, here’s what Wikipedia says about it, “Princess Kay of the Milky Way is the title awarded to the winner of the statewide Minnesota Dairy Princess Program, an annual competition organized by the Midwest Dairy Association. During her one-year term, the Princess Kay of the Milky Way serves as official good-will ambassador for the Minnesota dairy industry. The Princess is crowned every year at the Minnesota State Fair, and receives a scholarship. The crowning of Princess Kay annually garners statewide as well as national media coverage.”

Todd County has chosen one for more Dairy Princesses as well as Dairy Ambassadors annually to promote the dairy industry within the county. Each year there are about 100 princesses that vie for one of the 12 finalists for Princess Kay. This event typically takes place in May.

Todd County has had one young woman crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way. That was in 1965 and her name was Mary Ann Titrud from Clarissa. Beginning in 1965, the 12 finalists each had their likeness carved out of a 90 pound block of butter. The butter carving booth is one of the most popular exhibits at the State Fair.

According to Wikipedia, “The carving of the butter sculpture takes 6–8 hours per finalist. For nearly 40 years, Linda Christensen has sculpted the Princesses’ butter sculptures. Princesses take their butter sculpture home with them at the end of the Fair.”

This year—the 65th annual competition—holds another first for Todd County. This year, two young women—Rebekka Paskewitz and Megan Hollermann—were both selected to be one of the 12 finalists.

The girls are required to take on “public relations roles at the Minnesota State Fair. The new Princess Kay is selected just before the State Fair, and the coronation takes place the night before the State Fair opens. The crowned Princess Kay then makes numerous media and public appearances during the Fair’s 12 days and throughout the coming year on behalf of Minnesota dairy farmers.” This year’s Princess Kay coronation is on August 22. . . .

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