MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s true the State Fair won’t be the same this year.

No grandstand, no food booths, no crowds — but inside the Dairy Building, the show goes on for a long-standing tradition.

On Wednesday night, Brenna Connelly of Olmsted County and a sophomore at the University of Minnesota became the 67th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

“That moment she places that crown on your head, there are no words to describe that feeling. I am so honored to be here today,” said Connolly.

Wearing her crown, sash and a face mask, Connolly is still doing what princesses before her have done — having her face carved out of 90 pounds of butter.

“I still get my dream of wearing this crown and getting my likeness sculpted in butter,” explained Connolly. “Although we’re disappointed we can’t share that moment, we will have fairs to come to share our stories.”

The crowd is a bit different too for sculptor Gerry Kulzer who is carving on his own this year, after essentially being an apprentice the past couple Fairs.

“To have those thousands of people watching you every day is quite an honor really,” said Kulzer.

The butter carving is still being live-streamed and viewers may notice Kulzer’s glasses occasionally fogging up because of his face mask — among other new challenges, like trying to see Connolly’s face behind her own mask.

“When I have to see her mouth and nose she has to step outside and sit on the ladder there,” said Kulzer.

He’s also zooming with past sculptor Linda Christensen as he works. Still, much remains the same.

It’s 40 degrees inside the butter booth. The process still takes 6 to 8 hours, and the new princess is still eager for a year of promoting Minnesota dairy — even if some of that has to happen virtually.

“I can do virtual classroom visits and farm tours and share my favorite recipes from my kitchen. We still have great ways to share our stories and connect with others this year,” said Connolly.

Connolly said she is also looking forward to a career in AG education after she graduates, and teaching kids about animal science.
She told John she will store her butter carving in a freezer until restrictions and then she and her family can have a party with the carving as their centerpiece.

John Lauritsen

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