FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s a tradition of the Minnesota State Fair. Just hours after being crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way, a new “dairy queen” is getting her image carved in butter.

Christine Reitsma, an 18-year-old college student from Sauk Centre who attends the University of Minnesota, was crowned the prestigious honor at a ceremony Wednesday night. She’ll go around the state for the next year representing Minnesota’s dairy farmers as the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

On Thursday, Reitsma started the State Fair by sitting in a 40-degree cooler and having her imaged carved in butter. She traded in her pageant dress for a winter coat and gloves, since the carving is a lengthy process.

“I wouldn’t do it,” said one fair-goer.

“I’m very excited. I cannot wait to continue to grow and learn from the dairy industry,” Reitsma said.

It’s an open day tradition at the Minnesota State Fair, and it takes about six to eight hours. Since she’s in a soundproof cooler for that long with a carver, they get to know each other pretty well. Linda Christensen, the honorary carver, said she has learned about quite a few Princess Kay’s.

“I’ve been doing this for 40 years, this is my 41st,” Christensen said. “I think I have a graduate degree in animal husbandry, how much water they drink and how much milk they produce.”

And Reitsma knows the history of the process well.

“It’s an awesome experience to be in the cooler with her,” Reitsma said.

Christensen said she enjoys the work and the company, but she really enjoys the challenge of every face carving.

“Every day I walk in here I wonder if I’ll be able to get the likeness and get it done,” Christensen said.

And the Princess keeps the sculpture, and the scraps. Some give it to their family for baking, others use for a bunch of food and host a big party.


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