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New full-time butter sculptor takes the helm

<i>WCCO</i><br/>Gerry Kulzer is the official butter sculptor at the at the Minnesota State Fair.
Gerry Kulzer is the official butter sculptor at the at the Minnesota State Fair.

By John Lauritsen

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    FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota (WCCO) — Promoting the dairy industry at the Minnesota State Fair is one thing. Getting to be the official butter sculptor is another.

It’s an honor Gerry Kulzer doesn’t take for granted.

“A lot of pressure,” he said Thursday, at the start of the 2022 fair. “You’ve got to get a portrait of a person done in two days.”

As he carved the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way into a massive block of butter on Thursday, Kulzer was aware that he’s filling some big shoes.

Linda Christensen carved Princess Kay faces at the fair for 50 years. She trained Kulzer during last year’s fair.

Now, Christensen is retired and giving Kulzer a chance to carve his own legacy.

Working in front of an audience and inside a 40-degree refrigerator, Kulzer was craving a bust of Rachel Rynda, who was crowned the 69th Princess Kay of the Milky Way on Wednesday night.

Normally a clay sculptor, Kulzer had to layer up for dairy-carving.

“I’ve got three layers over everything and a rain suit here,” Kulzer said. “So the butter just kinda falls off, and I can wash off at the end.”

While Kulzer says his time at the fair won’t be as long as his predecessor’s was, he’s going to enjoy every minute of it.

“I can’t describe how much fun this is,” Kulzer said. “This is the ultimate…To be able to sit and talk with the princess and learn her background and talk with the finalists is so fun.”

During his time at this year’s fair, Kulzer will carve over a dozen butter sculptures.

Outside the fair, Kulzer is an educator at Eden Valley Watkins School in central Minnesota, where he teaches art and shop classes.

He beat out five other sculptors to get the state fair sculptor gig.

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