Princess Kay of the Milky Way

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Young woman wearing sleeveless black and white print dress, smiling and waving in a parade. Sign in front of her says Princess Kay of the Milky Way
Katie Miron, Princess Kay of the Milky Way, 2010, was a 19-year-old student at the University of Minnesota.[1]

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.[2]

The competition was the idea of Lew Conlon, who managed the Minnesota Dairy Industry Committee.[2] The name "Princess Kay of the Milky Way" was selected from over 10,000 entries in a 1954 contest to name the Minnesota dairy princess.[citation needed]

Princess Program[edit]

2010 Princess Kay of the Milky Way sits for a butter sculptor at the Minnesota State Fair

Individual counties in Minnesota may select Dairy Princesses who meet the eligibility requirements listed below. These Princesses may then advance to the Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists competition held each spring. Of the nearly 100 princesses in the competition, 12 finalists are selected, and are then 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.

Contestants must be U.S. citizens, and their parents, guardians, or siblings must be actively involved in the production of dairy products. They must also have completed a high school education, be under the age of 24, and be unmarried with no children. Candidates are judged on "communication skills, personality, general knowledge of the dairy industry and its products, and their commitment to dairy promotion."[3]

Butter sculptures[edit]

Since 1965, sculptures of the winning Princess Kay and other finalists have been carved, one per day, at the Minnesota State Fair. Recent butter sculptures have been carved out of a 90-pound block of Grade A butter, in a walk-in, glass-walled refrigerator. The butter is manufactured by Associated Milk Producers in New Ulm, Minnesota. The butter carving booth is one of the most popular exhibits at the Fair. 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.[4]

Previous Princesses[edit]

Below is a list of previous Princesses. * indicates deceased.

Year Name County Town
1954 Eleanor Maley Thatcher Mower County Grand Meadow
1955 Ruth Marie Peterson Faber Mower County Lansing
1956 Barbara Bossus Bohrer* Crow Wing County Brainerd
1957 Judy Merritt Dakota County Lakeville
1958 Diane Schroeder Dunn Polk County Fertile
1959 Betty Jax Cole Mower County Adams
1960 Marilyn Christianson Styve Freeborn County Corning
1961 Diane Kramer Nobles County Worthington
1962 Kathy Hjelle Martens Marshall County Argyle
1963 Audrey Meyer Carlsen* Freeborn County Clarks Grove
1964 Karen Bracken Geier Lincoln County Verdi
1965 Mary Ann Titrud Springer Todd County Clarissa
1966 Linda Kottke McLeod County Glencoe
1967 Carla Rae Larson Moll Lyon County Minneota
1968 Linda Louwagie Brisbane Lyon County Marshall
1969 Janelle Gatzke Hahn Fillmore County Preston
1970 Gayle Krogstad Solum Norman County Ada
1971 Mary Ann Glawe Hardy Becker County Detroit Lakes
1972 Madge Stapleton Johnson Houston County Caledonia
1973 Lori Anshus Redmer Yellow Medicine County Canby
1974 Juliet Tessmer Garbow Hennepin County Rogers
1975 Wanda Ponto Sackter Kanabec County Mora
1976 Kathy Zeman Steele County Owatonna
1977 Beth Aarsvold Olson Winona County Peterson
1978 Kari Schroht Reuvers Steele County Owatonna
1979 Tamara Pennings Goehring Kandiyohi County Blomkest
1980 Jean Lindig Kessler Pine County Pine City
1981 Jill Jensen Douglas Martin County East Chain
1982 Janet Forner Bosch Carver County Chaska
1983 Lisa Schaffer Coyne Dakota County Cannon Falls
1984 Barbara Bianchi Clayton Nicollet County Gibbon
1985 Stephanie Dickey Bjella Clearwater County Leonard
1986 Yvonne Moerke Devito Grant County Ashby
1987 Amy Polikowsky Mesenburg Olmsted County Byron
1988 Marie Dick Cottonwood County Bingham Lake
1989 Katie Scott Johnson Otter Tail County Battle Lake
1990 Beth Mesenbring-Mastre Carver County Cologne
1991 Julie Felger Mulford Kanabec County Mora
1992 Bridget Hendrickson Jacobson Fillmore County Preston
1993 Ann Erickson Gibbs Otter Tail County Battle Lake
1994 Julie Sauber Antonutti Dakota County Lakeville
1995 Kimberly Mallery Gusick Chisago County Shafer
1996 Kristi Ann Pettis Osterlund Sibley County Winthrop
1997 Kari Skiba Stanek Anoka/Isanti North Branch
1998 Jenny Kinnunen Schlauderaff Wadena County Menahga
1999 Renae Jorgens Gebhart Yellow Medicine County Boyd
2000 Bridget Hollermann Klein Pope County Farewell
2001 Kelsey Olson Fillmore County Spring Valley
2002 Sarah Olson Schmidt McLeod County Hutchinson
2003 Tae Vander Kooi Nordby Nobles County Worthington
2004 Christina Rettmann Renville County Buffalo Lake
2005 Rebekah Dammann Reuter McLeod County Lester Prairie
2006 Audrey Mohr Brown County New Ulm
2007 Ann Miron Washington County Hugo
2008 Kristy Mussman Steele County Claremont
2009 Elizabeth Olson McLeod County Hutchinson
2010 Katie Miron Washington County Hugo
2011 Mary Zahurones Morrison County Pierz
2012 Christine Reitsma Stearns County Sauk Centre
2013 MarJenna McWilliam Polk County Winger
2014 Jeni Haler Carver County Norwood Young America
2015 Kyla Mauk Wright County Howard Lake
2016 Haley Hinrichs Goodhue County Goodhue
2017 Emily Annexstad Nicollet County St. Peter
2018 Rebekka Paskewitz Todd County Browerville


  1. ^ "Katie Miron of Hugo named 57th Princess Kay of the Milky Way". Pioneer Press. Media News Group. August 25, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Marling, Karal Ann (1990). Blue Ribbon: A Social and Pictorial History of the Minnesota State Fair. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0-87351-252-7.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2009-10-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Mincer, Jilian (August 26, 2010). "When It Comes to Butter Carving, There's No Margarine for Error". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones. Retrieved January 2, 2011.