Monday, September 8, 2008

The MN State Fair: Butter Sculptures For All

The State Fair (aka "The Great Minnesota Get Together) left town last week and, sitting in 64 degree weather, I fear summer went with it.

Really I meant to blog about the fair last week, but the old man and I have been busily renovating the home (demo, installing a glass block window, organizing the basement and various storage areas).

And so begins the State Fair blogging... a little late.

The thing that Eric and I always make a point of visiting is The Princess Kay of the Milky Way area of the dairy building. Yes, I did just write "Princess Kay of the Milky Way." Say it outloud. You will feel like you're in a Japanese cartoon.

Every year a handful of women are selected from various counties to be the faces of the Minnesota dairy industry. Minnesota produces more cheese than Wisconsin. We just don't wear those silly hats. (In the interest of full disclosure, I lived in Wisconsin for five years -- longer than I've lived in Minnesota. I have never worn a cheesehead.)

Here is this year's Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Kristy Mussman, in a parade with a chipmunk and some of her milkmaids.

Eric enjoys the ice cream in the dairy building next to the Princess Kay exhibit. I enjoy the exhibit itself, which features Linda Christensen making busts of each of the Princess's heads out of 90 pound block of butter. Yes. Butter. Yes. Ninety pounds. Nine. Oh.

Here's the artists working her magic in a chilled rotating glass display case.

I feel personally connected to the whole affair because last year when I got married I had a brief interaction with the illustrious Ms Christensen.

My sister, Laura, was the one who set me and my husband up. Needless to say, this was, in my sister's mind, the best aspect of my relationship with Eric. She spread the story of her yenta ways amongst friends and family alike with a large slice of pride and a dash of humility. Of course, we were happy that my sister had had such insight and wanted to pay homage to my her abilities. Around this time one of our friends, Jess, made a comment about the significance of my sister in our relationship. "They should have a butter sculpture of you at their wedding!" We thought it was a brilliant idea.

I called around trying to find someone who was adept at butter sculpture. turns out there aren't too many people who can do it. There was a woman down in Iowa who had sculpted a last supper scene and cows out of butter, but she was mostly out of the dairy art game.

I tracked down Linda Christensen in California. (The women at the State Fair had a big laugh when I told them why I needed to get in touch with her. I'm not sure if they were laughing with me or at me.) In order to accomplish such a feat during her annual trip to Minnesota (which was about two months before our wedding), the artist would need a freezer space to work in, pictures of my sister, and a 90 pound block of butter.

Could we just go into the co-op week after week, collecting pounds of butter to melt and reshape into a giant block? Can we just call land-o-lakes and order that sort of thing? Did we know any restaurateurs with walk-in freezers? Where would we store it for the months leading up to the wedding? What would we do with this giant block of butter afterwards? Could Eric bake that many pies even in a lifetime? In the end, as much as we wanted to pay homage to my sister's yenta-ing, it just proved beyond our capabilities.

We had a great wedding. It was amazing to see all the friends and family who came from near and far to celebrate with us. The band rocked. We danced all night. But still, part of me thinks about that 90 pound block of butter that could have been.

1 comment:

Brian Isaeff said...

Hi there I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one trying to track down Linda Christensen! But you were sucessful! I'd love to get a hold of her for an event coming up in June. Can you help?

Thanks Brian