Minnesota State Fair: MarJenna McWilliam crowned 60th Princess Kay of the Milky Way


Polk County dairy princess MarJenna McWilliam, 20, was crowned the 60th Princess Kay of the Milky Way at a ceremony held on the Minnesota Sate Fairgrounds Aug. 21.

McWilliam’s first official duty was to sit in a 40-degree rotating cooler on opening day of the Fair and have her likeness carved into a 90-pound block of butter by renowned sculptor Linda Christensen. McWilliam spent up to six hours inside the cooler as Fair visitors watched Christensen’s artistry take form.

“I can see [my butterhead] take shape in the reflection on the cooler’s windows, but not the details yet,” said McWilliam.

This year is Christensen’s 42nd year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the State Fair. Christensen said every year does not get any easier, even after 42 years. In 2011, the Minnesota State Fair and the Midwest Dairy Association honored her 40th anniversary of butterhead sculpting at a special ceremony on the fairgrounds attended by many former Princess Kays.

(Above) The 2013 State Fair is sculptor Linda Christensen’s 42nd year carving butterheads

Dairy ambassador

As Princess Kay of the Milky Way, McWilliam will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for nearly 4,000 Minnesota dairy farmers. She is the daughter of Bruce and LaVonne McWilliam of Winger, Minn. and attends North Dakota Sate University, majoring in English education with a Norwegian language emphasis.

McWilliam said she hopes to teach at the middle school level. “I want to teach people about the dairy industry first, before I graduate,” she said from the sculpting booth.

In an interview with Dairy Star newspaper, McWilliam said being crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way is about representing more than her or her farm, but the whole dairy industry in Minnesota. “It would be a very rewarding experience to work hard to promote an industry that has been a large part of my family’s lives.”

Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills, personality and enthusiasm for dairy promotion, according to the Midwest Dairy Association. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program with funds provided by dairy farmers.

Each of the other finalists will have her likeness carved in butter during the fair, located in the Diary Building, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Fair visitors have a good view of Christensen sculpting the butterheads.

The Minnesota State Fair runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

(Above) Princess Kay MarJenna McWilliam could see the progress of her butterhead on the cooler’s window reflection, “but not the details”

(Above) Other blocks of butter wait for sculptor Christensen’s carving of the Princess Kay finalists

(Above) Sculptor Linda Christensen begins work on MarJenna McWilliam’s likeness


(Above) MarJenna McWilliam poses for sculptor Linda Christensen. Fair visitors can view the butter carving process as the glass cooler rotates

(Above) As Princess Kay of the Milky Way, MarJenna McWilliam serves as official goodwill ambassador for the Midwest Dairy Association