Christine Reitsma, an 18-year-old college student from Sauk Centre, was crowned the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Wednesday evening during a ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Reitsma, the first Princess Kay to hail from Stearns County, will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 4,000 Minnesota dairy farmers. Christine is the daughter of Paul and Carolyn Reitsma of Sauk Centre, and will attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities this fall studying applied economics.
County dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title. Victoria Haler of Waconia, representing Carver County, and Kelsey Mussman of Claremont, representing Steele County, were selected as runners-up. Mussman was also named Miss Congeniality. Scholarships were awarded to Reitsma, Mussman and Laura Rosenhammer of Sleepy Eye, representing Brown County.
One of Reitsma's first duties as Princess Kay will be to sit in a rotating cooler for about six hours on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair to have her likeness sculpted in a 90-pound block of butter. Each of the other finalists will have her likeness carved in butter during the fair, as well. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen's 41st year carving the Princess Kay of the Milky Way winner and finalists at the Minnesota State Fair.
Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Reitsma will make public appearances helping consumers make a connection with Minnesota dairy farm families who are dedicated to producing wholesome milk while caring for their animals and natural resources.
Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills, personality and enthusiasm for dairy promotion. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program with funds provided by dairy farmers.
Midwest Dairy Association is a non-profit organization that provides consumers with information about the nutrition and wholesomeness of dairy foods, and conducts research and promotional programs.