WEB EXTRA: MN State Fair Butter Sculpting Facts
Woman carving a butter sculpture in 1938.
Photo: Minnesota Historical Society
Butter sculpting has been a tradition at the Minnesota State Fair since the late 1800s.
But what do you really know about butter sculpting?
This year, the sculpting of Princess Kay of the Milky Way begins Thursday, Aug. 22, during the first day at the Minnesota State Fair. Watch it live at the Dairy Building.
Here are some facts about the dairy art form, according to the Midwest Dairy Association:
- The butter sculpting booth in the Dairy Building is an exhibit sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association through its nearly 4,000 dairy farmers.
- The newly crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way has her likeness carved on the first day of the State Fair. The sculpting continues through the Fair with the other princess finalists.
- Each sculpture is carved from a 90-pound block of Grade A butter, which is produced exclusively by Associated Milk Producers, Inc. in New Ulm.
- The 2013 artist is Linda Christensen. It's her 42nd year of creating butter sculptures. She's sculpted more than 450 butter sculptures.
- Butter sculpting was initiated at the State Fair to highlight the state as the "butter capital of the nation."
- Various butter sculptures were featured at the State Fair from 1898 through 1927. In 1965, the sculpting of Princess Kay began.
- In 2008, a new butter-sculpting booth was unveiled - which is more energy efficient and 2 feet larger than the previous booth, offering a better view.
- The temperature inside the rotating butter booth is 40 degrees.
- It takes 21.8 pounds of whole milk to make a pound of butter.
- A complete butter sculpture takes about six hours to finish.
- Sculpting in front of fairgoers using a live model is unique to Minnesota.
- The history of butter sculpting began in the 1800s when frontier women molded and imprinted their homemade butter.