Jeni Haler, a 19-year-old college student from Norwood Young America, was crowned the 61st Princess Kay of the Milky Way at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday evening.

Haler, who represented Carver County, will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 3,600 Minnesota dairy farm families.

Haler’s first official duty will come on the fair’s opening day, when she will sit in a rotating cooler in the Dairy Building for nearly six hours to have her likeness sculpted from a 90-pound block of butter. It’s the 43rd year that sculptor Linda Christensen will carve the princess and finalists.

Haler is pursuing double majors in animal science and Spanish/Portuguese studies at the University of Minnesota. She’s the daughter of Rick Haler and Connie Helget Haasken.

Throughout her yearlong reign, Haler will make public appearances and promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which encourages students to get 60 minutes of exercise daily and eat a healthy diet that includes three servings of dairy.

Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the Princess Kay title, which the nonprofit Midwest Dairy Association sponsors.

JOY POWELL