Since 1954, the Midwest Dairy Association's been crowning goodwill ambassadors the night before each Minnesota State Fair.  Each year, the newly-crowned "Princess Kay of the Milky Way" begins a one-year term to promote Minnesota's dairy industry.

2010 Princess Kay sits for her butterhead sculpting.  (Jonathunder via Wikipedia)

Shortly after her coronation, Princess Kay sits for a butter sculptor in a cooler at the fair. Her likeness is carved in a 90 pound block of Grade-A butter as gawkers watch the spectacle through a glass wall.

The crowning of Princess Kay -- to me -- marks a beginning and an end.  The beginning of the craziness of the Great Minnesota Get Together, and the realization that summer is all-too-soon ending. All washed down with a big glass of icy cold milk. (The bucket of Sweet Martha's Cookies doesn't hurt, either...)

Last year's winner, Christine Reitsma from Sauk Centre will relinquish her crown during coronation ceremonies Wednesday night at the State Fair Band Shell when one of these young women from farm families will become the next Princess Kay.

 

2013 Princess Kay Finalists (Minnesota Dairy Association)

The finalists are:

  •    Katelyn Blackwelder, 20, Chokio, representing Big Stone County, daughter of Mark and Amy Blackwelder;
  •     Katie Buckentine, 19, Chaska, representing Carver County, daughter of John and Jean Buckentine;
  •     Nicole Jax, 19, Waltham, representing Mower County, daughter of Doug and Becky Jax;
  •     Johanna Knorr, 18, Pelican Rapids, representing Ottertail-West County, daughter Brad and Jane Knorr;
  •     Alydia Lee, 21, Lake City, representing Wabasha County, daughter of Jeff and Ruth Lee;
  •     MarJenna McWilliam, 20, Winger, representing Polk County, daughter of Bruce and LaVonne McWilliam;
  •     Libby Mills, 18, Lake City, representing Goodhue County, daughter of Kent and Deborah Mills;
  •     Eryn Orth, 18, Winona, representing Winona County, daughter of Jim and Laurie Orth;
  •     Ashley Overman, 22, Freeport, representing Stearns County, daughter of Keith and Lucy Overman;
  •     Sarah Paskewitz, 19, Browerville, representing Todd County, daughter of Bruce and Sandy Paskewitz;
  •     Rachael Rostad, 19, Zumbrota, representing Goodhue County, daughter of Joel and Bridget Rostad;
  •     Katie Schmitt, 18, Rice, representing Benton County, daughter of Mark and Natalie Schmitt.

Princess Kay is more than just a pretty face. She serves as a dairy advocate to consumers, she talks with the media, she visits students in the classroom to talk about the dairy industry, gives speeches to various organizations and makes public appearances.

Good luck ladies!