For many years now I’ve been polishing my story about driving across America to take a friend’s car to San Francisco. The story has everything: Monet in Chicago, parties at the Renn Fest outside Minneapolis and a day at the Minnesota State Fair, the Shetterly tour of Weird America (Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Crazy Horse Mountain, Carhenge, etc.), a spooky run in with a bigotted sherrif in Wyoming, proselytizing Mormons in Utah, the Bonneville salt flats, a run in with a nice cop in Winnemucca, second degree burns, a slowly degrading car, Alcatraz, The Stinking Rose, City Lights, a surprise encounter deep in the Muir Woods, and much more. I rarely tell the whole thing1, but there are many self-contained excerpts that I’ve told lots of times.
One of the most commonly told of these is the story about the Minnesota State Fair. Among tales of Machinery Hill and the international warning symbols thereon, seed art, deep-fried cheese, etc., there is the story of the diary princess pageant to select “Princess Kay of the Milky Way“. The pageant itself is not the story, it’s the fact that the princess has her likenesses carved in a ninety pound block of butter that makes it a story. I normally talk about watching the contestants shiver while modelling in the refridgerated room, etc.
The punch line of the story is my asking my guide to the fair what happens to the sculptures at the end of the pageant. The totally deadpan delivery of the line “Well, a corn roast, obviously” always makes the story.
Well, one of my Minneapolis friends is making use of this weirdness as inspiration for a novel:
SCI FI Wire Story
“Each year in Minnesota, 12 dairy princesses are named, and for as long as anyone can remember, and for no possible reason anyone can think of, the [likenesses] of the 12 dairy princesses have been carved out of butter and showed at the state fair,” Stemple said in an interview. “[In the novel,] a new mayor in the small town of Vanderby decides to stop disposing of the [butter replicas] in the traditional manner, [and] it has unforeseen consequences. First, the princesses disappear, then the popular boy band the Griffson Brothers are gone, too, taken by Aenmarr the troll into Trollholm to serve as brides and dinner, respectively. And it’s up to the unlikely heroes, dairy princess Moira Darr and young guitarist Jakob Griffson, to fight their way out, with only the help of the Fossegrim, a mysterious talking fox, who may be their deliverance or their destruction.”
Disturbingly, this is not the first post about butter sculpture on this blog.
- Neil A. Macfarlance, Esq. may now shut up.(back)