Posts Tagged ‘Butter Queen’

Princess Kay Of The Milky Way, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Princess Kay Of The Milky Way, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


The Minnesota State Fair kicks off this week and it’s time for our annual State Fair post on red Ravine. We’ve covered a lot of history in the past, so this year I’m focusing on one of my favorite attractions at the Minnesota State Fair — the Princess Kay butter sculptures (I fondly call them the Butter Queens). Would you believe it takes 21.8 pounds of whole milk to make a pound of butter? And 90 pounds of butter to create one princess.


Traditions Of Butter Sculpting

Butter sculpting is a long-time tradition at many State Fairs. The first recorded North American sculpture was created by Carolyn Brooks for the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In 1910, the first Buttercow was created by a sculptor only recorded as Mr. Daniels at the Iowa State Fair. Though the Midwest Dairy Association and its 5000 dairy farmers sponsor butter sculpting at State Fairs in 9 states (including North Dakota), sculpting in front of Fair-goers using a live model is unique to Minnesota (click for slideshow of past butter sculptures from Iowa and Minnesota).

This year marks artist Linda Christensen’s 38th year creating butter sculptures at the Minnesota State Fair. Carving busts from butter is no easy task. The dizzying temperature inside the rotating booth is a cool 40°F (notice the sitting Princess is wearing mittens?). Linda spends 6 to 8 hours on her feet to complete one sculpture. She builds her body of work on a long tradition of American frontier women from the 1800’s who molded and imprinted their homemade butter.

Butter sculptures were first featured at the Minnesota State Fair from 1898 through 1927 to highlight Minnesota’s claim as the “Butter Capital of the Nation.” In 1965, the American Dairy Association of Minnesota began its tradition of having the likeness of the dairy princess sculpted in butter and constructed a booth which was expanded in 2008 for better viewing.

While researching this piece, I also discovered that butter sculpting is a Tibetan tradition that goes back 400 years. Butter sculpture originated from Tibet and was introduced to the Tar Monastery, also known as Kumbum Monastery, in the early 17th century. Originally made with pure yak and goat milk butter as the raw material, the sculptures were hand formed and painted with mineral dyes.

They were created as symbols and secret offerings for the Tibetan New Year and other religious celebrations, and sometimes depicted stories about the life of Śākyamuni (Siddhārtha Gautama), the founder of Buddhism. Today monks create traditional butter sculptures with staples of the Tibetan diet: barley flour, butter (mixed with a little wax) and water.


Dairy Princess Alysha Thompson, Sculptor Linda Christensen At Work, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Princess Kay of the Milky Way Butter Sculptures

The Princess Kay of the Milky Way coronation ceremony at the State Fair band shell on August 26th at 8:30 p.m. kicks off this year’s Minnesota State Fair. Reigning Princess Kay Kristy Mussman will pass the crown (don’t you think the winning Princess should be crowned a Queen?).

On opening day, August 27th, the newly crowned Princess Kay will spend up to 8 hours in the rotating butter sculpture booth in the Dairy Building having her likeness carved out of a 90-pound block of butter provided by Associated Milk Producers of New Ulm. The 11 other finalists will have their likenesses sculpted in butter throughout the remaining days of the fair.

Princess Kay candidates, and Minnesota’s county dairy princesses, are daughters of dairy farmers, employees of dairy farms, or daughters of dairy farm employees. Each year, over 100 young women from across Minnesota are crowned county dairy princesses, and 12 are selected as finalists to become Princess Kay. Princess Kay acts as goodwill ambassador for the dairy industry and the state’s dairy farmers, but all dairy princesses across the state serve in that capacity in their local areas.

For the first time, Princess Kay will be blogging from the Butter Booth this year! And you can also follow her on Facebook by becoming fans of her new Facebook page (and Midwest Dairy Association) at a kiosk in the Dairy Building, just across from the butter-sculpting booth.


Frozen Pickle On-A-Stick (Leprechaun Legs in the background!), Wild Rice Corndog On-A-Stick, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


MN State Fair – Foods On-A-Stick

Our Minnesota State Fair post wouldn’t be complete without the annual foods on-a-stick list. Here’s the luscious lineup for 2009 along with a few photos from foods we tried last year. If you are looking for the location of specific foods at the Fair, here’s a link to their FoodFinder with a map of the Fair. (Oh, and check out ybonesy’s post on Chinese food on-a-stick.)

The Minnesota State Fair begins this Thursday, August 27th and runs through September 7th. Be sure to stop and enjoy the crop art and the work of Minnesota State Fair commemorative artist Leo Stans. You’ve got one more day to purchase your Blue Ribbon Bargain Book and save a little cash. Enjoy!

  1. Alligator Sausage on-a-stick
  2. Bacon (Fried) on-a-stick
  3. Bananas (chocolate covered) on-a-stick
  4. Beef Kabobs on-a-stick
  5. Beer Battered Brats on-a-stick
  6. Bomb Pops on-a-stick
  7. Butterscotch Cake on-a-stick
  8. Candy Apples on-a-stick
  9. Candy Bars (deep fried) on-a-stick
  10. Caramel Apples on-a-stick
  11. Catfish on-a-stick
  12. Cheese on-a-stick
  13. Cheese (fried) on-a-stick
  14. Cheesecake (chocolate covered) on-a-stick
  15. Chicken on-a-stick
  16. Chicken Bites on-a-stick
  17. Coffee (frozen) on-a-stick
  18. Corndogs on-a-stick
  19. Corned Beef and Cabbage on-a-stick
  20. Cotton Candy on-a-stick
  21. Dessert Pizza on-a-stick
  22. Dixie Wings on-a-stick
  23. Espresso (frozen) on-a-stick
  24. Fiddlestix (chocolate-dipped ice cream) on-a-stick
  25. Fruit (fresh) on-a-stick
  26. Fruit (fried) on-a-stick
  27. Fry Dog on-a-stick
  28. Fudge Puppies on-a-stick
  29. Hot Dago on-a-stick
  30. Hot Dish on-a-stick
  31. Hot Dogs (wrap) on-a-stick
  32. Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate (frozen) on-a-stick
  33. Lamb (leg of) on-a-stick
  34. Macaroni & Cheese on-a-stick
  35. Marshmallows (Chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  36. Meatballs (porcupine wild rice & ground pork) on-a-stick
  37. Meatballs (Scotch) on-a-stick
  38. Meat Kabobs on-a-stick
  39. Nut Roll (chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  40. Pickles on-a-stick
  41. Pickles (deep fried) on-a-stick
  42. Pizza on-a-stick
  43. Poncho Dogs on-a-stick
  44. Pork Cheeks on-a-stick
  45. Pork Chops on-a-stick
  46. Pronto Pups on-a-stick
  47. Rueben on-a-stick
  48. Sausage on-a-stick
  49. Scotch Eggs on-a-stick
  50. Shrimp on-a-stick
  51. Shrimp (grilled) on-a-stick
  52. S’mores on-a-stick
  53. S’mores (deep-fried) on-a-stick
  54. Spaghetti & Meatballs on-a-stick
  55. Spudsters on-a-stick
  56. Steak on-a-stick
  57. Taffy Pops on-a-stick
  58. Tater Tots (deep-fried) on-a-stick
  59. Texas Steak Dinner on-a-stick
  60. Texas Tater Dog on-a-stick
  61. Tornado Potato on-a-stick
  62. Turkey Tenderloin (bacon-wrapped) on-a-stick
  63. Vegie Fries on-a-stick
  64. Vegetable Kabobs on-a-stick
  65. Waffle (Belgian) on-a-stick
  66. Walleye on-a-stick
  67. Wild Rice Corndog on-a-stick

Total Number of Foods-On-A-Stick: 67*


Catfish Cajun Style, Bull Bites, MN State Fair, St. Paul,
Minnesota, August 2008, photos © 2008-2009 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


New Minnesota State Fair Foods In 2009
  (including *4 new foods on-a-stick not on list above)

    Beignets (Sweet, fried dough)
    @Ragin Cajun, located inside The Garden
    Brat Burger (Ground bratwurst in a grilled patty served on a pretzel roll)
    @Ball Park Cafe, located between The Garden and the Food Building
    Breakfast Spam Sandwich (Spam, egg, cheese)
    @Spam Burgers, located on Cosgrove St. across from the Creative Activities Building
    Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split (Banana rolled in lefse, deep fried, topped off with ice cream and all the toppings)
    @Ole & Lena’s, located on Liggett Street at Carnes Avenue
    Fiddlestix (Premium vanilla ice cream hand sliced, skewered, dipped in chocolate and rolled in chopped nuts)
    @Wells Concessions, located inside the Mighty Midway
    Foot-long Dessert Pizza on-a-stick (Pizza dough, sweet cream cheese, cinnamon and sugar on-a-stick)
    @Green Mill, located in Baldwin Park
    Fry Dog (French fry encrusted deep-fried hot dog on-a-stick)
    @Blue Moon Dine In Theater, located on corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street
    Funnel Cake Fries (Funnel cake formed like French fries, served with chocolate dipping sauce)
    @Apple Lil’s, located just inside Heritage Square
    Krumkake (Thin, crisp pastry made fresh, rolled into a horn shape, filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit)
    @Ole & Lena’s, located on Liggett Street at Carnes Avenue
    • Open-faced Grilled Spam Sandwich
    @Spam Burgers, located on Cosgrove St. across from the Creative Activities Building
    •Peach Glazed Pig Cheeks (Pork cheeks marinated in garlic, herbs, spices and honey, served on-a-stick and grilled with peach chipotle glaze)
    @Famous Dave’s, located on Dan Patch Avenue at Liggett Street
    Pot Roast Sundae (scoop of mashed potatoes covered with roast beef, gravy, corn and a cherry tomato)
    @Main Street Butcher Block, located on the corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Liggett Street
    Sunfish (Sunfish filets served in a boat)
    @Giggle’s Campfire Grill, located on Cooper Street and Lee Avenue
    Swedish Meatballs and Gravy
    @Lynn’s Lefse, located inside the Food Building
    Tornado Potato (spiral cut potato on-a-stick)
    @Sunny’s Spiral Potatoes, located inside the Food Building


Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner On-A-Stick, Fried Fruit On-A-Stick, Macaroni & Cheese On-A-Stick, Bull Bites, Deep Fried Tater Tots On-A-Stick, Grilled Shrimp On-A-Stick, Vintage Kids & Fair Food!, Leprechaun Legs, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


State Fair photos on Flickr.


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

-related to posts: MN State Fair On-A-Stick (Happy B’Day MN!), On-The-Go List Of Must-Haves (MN State Fair)Nightshot – Carousel, MN State Fair On-A-Stick II – Video & Stats, food on-a-stick haiku

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Minnesota State Fair Button 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.

Minnesota State Fair Button 2007, quick snapshot after breakfast (notice the little piece of dirt on the middle right edge!), Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s Minnesota State Fair time! And after over 150 years, it’s a Minnesota tradition. The Minnesota State Fair is the 2nd largest State Fair in the U.S., second only to Texas. However, while the Texas State Fair runs for 24 days and has a larger annual attendance, the Minnesota State Fair is only 12 days with a greater number of people attending each day.

One of the most significant dates in the Fair’s history was September 2nd, 1901 when then-vice president Teddy Roosevelt was visiting and first uttered the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Liz and I are heading to the Fair tomorrow afternoon. If it’s not raining, we’ll take the motorcycle and park in the lot set aside especially for us. Sweet! I don’t like crowds (attendance at the MN State Fair in 2006 was 1,689,579), so the highlight of the Fair for me is the food (what else?).

We are famous for our Fair food on-a-stick. Below is a complete list (from the Minnesota State Fair Press Kit, a great resource for everything Fair). Liz and I wrote down a few we want to try: espresso on-a-stick, hotdish on-a-stick, chocolate-covered nutroll on-a-stick, wild rice corndog on-a-stick, deep-fried fruit on-a-stick, and, let’s not forget, SPAM curds!

We’ve also got a friend working at the Fair this year (thanks for the buttons!). So we’ll be sure to stop by and visit her. And the Minnesota State Fair is a photographer’s paradise. There’s the fantastic people watching, the amazing art in the Fine Arts Building, the Milk Run, and the Princess Kay of the Milky Way Coronation organized by the Midwest Dairy Association.

Since 1953, the Princess Kay competition has recognized young women whose families are involved in Minnesota’s dairy industry (have I ever mentioned that Liz comes from a North Dakota dairy family?). Regional dairy princesses compete for the yearly title and the entire court have their likenesses carved out of butter during the Fair.

If you’ve never seen a butter sculpture, you are in for a treat! Hope to see you at the The Great Minnesota Get-Together. Or if you can’t attend, tell us about the Fairs in your part of the world!


  1. Alligator Sausage on-a-stick
  2. Bacon Wrapped Turkey Tenderloin on-a-stick
  3. Beef Kabobs on-a-stick
  4. Beer Battered Brats on-a-stick
  5. Bomb Pops on-a-stick
  6. Butterscotch Cake on-a-stick
  7. Candy Apples on-a-stick
  8. Candy Bars (deep fried) on-a-stick
  9. Caramel Apples on-a-stick
  10. Cheese on-a-stick
  11. Chicken on-a-stick
  12. Chocolate Chip Cookies on-a-stick
  13. Chocolate Covered Bananas on-a-stick
  14. Chocolate Covered Cheese Cake on-a-stick
  15. Chocolate Dipped Nut Roll on-a-stick
  16. Coffee (frozen) on-a-stick
  17. Corndogs on-a-stick
  18. Corned Beef and Cabbage on-a-stick
  19. Cotton Candy on-a-stick
  20. Dessert Dumplings on-a-stick
  21. Espresso (frozen) on-a-stick
  22. Fried Fruit on-a-stick
  23. Fried Jalapeño Pepper Cheese on-a-stick
  24. Fried Swiss Cheese on-a-stick
  25. Fudge puppies on-a-stick
  26. Hot Dish on-a-stick
  27. Hot Dogs on-a-stick
  28. Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate (frozen) on-a-stick
  29. Kiddi Kabobs on-a-stick
  30. Macaroni & Cheese on-a-stick
  31. Marshmallows (Chocolate-dipped) on-a-stick
  32. Meatballs on-a-stick
  33. MinneKabobs on-a-stick
  34. Pickles on-a-stick
  35. Pickles (deep fried) on-a-stick
  36. Pickles (Kool-Aid) on-a-stick
  37. Pizza on-a-stick
  38. Poncho Dogs on-a-stick
  39. Pork Chops on-a-stick
  40. Pronto Pups on-a-stick
  41. Rueben Dog on-a-stick
  42. Salmon on-a-stick
  43. Sausage on-a-stick
  44. Scallops on-a-stick
  45. Scones on-a-stick
  46. Scotch Eggs on-a-stick
  47. Shrimp on-a-stick
  48. Sloppy Joes on-a-stick
  49. S’mores on-a-stick
  50. Spaghetti & Meatballs on-a-stick
  51. Spudsters on-a-stick
  52. Super Dog on-a-stick
  53. Taffy Pops on-a-stick
  54. Vegetable Kabobs on-a-stick
  55. Wild Rice Corndog on-a-stick
  56. Walleye on-a-stick

Total number of foods on-a-stick: 56


Apple fries (julienne apples crumb-coated and deep-fried)
@Coaster’s, located on the corner of Liggett Street and Carnes Avenue
Blackened steak wrap with steak, eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
BLP (bacon, lettuce, pico de gallo) quesadilla
@Tejas, located on the north wall in The Garden
Buffalo chips and cheese
@Delicious Potato Skins, located inside the south door of the Food Building
Butterscotch cake on-a-stick (a cream-filled cake dipped in butterscotch)
@Scotch Eggs, located east of the Horse Barn on Liggett Street
Cajun shrimp wrap with shrimp, eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
Calamari Fish and Chips
@two locations: inside the Food Building on the west side; west of Liggett Street on the northeast corner of the Horse Barn
Coca-Cola cheesecake dipped in chocolate on-a-stick
@Apple Lil’s, located in Heritage Square
Corned beef and cabbage on-a-stick
@O’Gara’s, located inside the east door of the Food Building
Fried fruit on-a-stick (pineapple, grapes, bananas, strawberries, apples, cherries, kiwi, honeydew and cantaloupe skewered, dipped in a sweet batter and deep fried)
@Fried Fruit, located in Carousel Park near the Grandstand Ramp
Jambalaya with eggs, potatoes and cheese
@Ragin Cajun, located on the west wall in The Garden
Knuckle sandwich (brined pork with sweet & zesty sauce and caramelized onions on a hoagie bun)
@Famous Dave’s, located north of Adventure Park on West Dan Patch Avenue
Kool-Aid pickles
@Famous Dave’s, located north of Adventure Park on West Dan Patch Avenue
Lingonberry turnovers
@Rainbow Ice Cream, three locations: east of Underwood Street and just south of Carnes Avenue under the Skyride; southwest corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Underwood Street; west of Underwood Street, between Wright Avenue and Dan Patch Avenue
Old fashioned ice cream sodas
@Bridgeman’s, located on the northwest corner of Judson Avenue and Liggett Street
Peanut butter hot dog
@Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, located on the corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street
Rocky road scones on-a-stick (scones with chocolate chips, caramel and marshmallow, rolled and baked)
@French Meadow, located inside the southeast door of the Food Building
S’mores on-a-stick
@Ultimate Confections, located inside the east door on the lower level of Grandstand
Soda fountain funnel cakes (topped with Coca-Cola, Cherry Coke, Sasparilla, whipped cream or custard)
@Apple Lil’s, located in Heritage Square
Sloppy joes on-a-stick
@Axel’s, located on the southeast corner outside the Food Building
SPAM burger, Hawaiian SPAM burger, SPAM curds
@SPAM Burgers located in Carousel Park under the Grandstand Ramp
Uffda brat (Norwegian brat wrapped in potato lefse)
@Sausage Sisters, located inside the east door of the Food Building

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 26, 2007

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