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Fact Sheet: Butter Sculpting

by | Aug 11, 2017 | 0 comments

Princess Kay Haley Hinrichs Butter Sculpture
  • The butter sculpting booth (in the Dairy Building, corner of Judson Avenue and Underwood Street) is a Minnesota State Fair exhibit sponsored by Midwest Dairy Association’s nearly 3,500 dairy farmers. It’s one of the most popular attractions at the fair.
  • On opening day of the State Fair, the newly crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way has her likeness carved in butter. The sculpting continues throughout the fair with the other 11 Princess Kay finalists serving as models for butter sculptures.
  • Each sculpture is carved from a 90‐pound block of Grade A butter, which is produced exclusively for this event by Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI), in New Ulm.
  • 2017 is artist Linda Christensen’s 46th year creating butter sculptures during the State Fair. Linda has sculpted more than 500 butter sculptures throughout the years, including likenesses of David Letterman, former Minnesota First Lady Mary Pawlenty and Big Bird.
  • Butter sculpting at the State Fair began as a way to highlight Minnesota’s claim as the “butter capital of the nation.”
  • Various butter sculptures were featured at the Minnesota State Fair from 1898 through 1927. In 1965, the American Dairy Association of Minnesota began its tradition of having the likenesses of dairy princesses sculpted in butter, and constructed the original booth.
  • In 2008, a larger, more energy efficient butter‐sculpting booth was unveiled.
  • The temperature inside the rotating butter booth is 40 ̊F.
  • It takes 2.5 gallons (21.8 pounds) of whole milk to make a pound of butter.
  • A complete butter sculpture takes about six hours to complete.
  • Midwest Dairy Association helps to sponsor butter sculpting at several other state fairs in its 10 states, but sculpting in front of fair‐goers using a live model is unique to Minnesota.
  • Butter sculpting as an art form began in the 1800s when frontier women molded and imprinted their homemade butter.
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