It is so hard to believe that a year has passed since my dreams came true, and I was crowned a 2012-2013 Stearns County dairy princess. This past year has been filled with so many incredible memories to last a lifetime. To quickly recap, the first large event was this past May when all six of the newly crowned dairy princesses competed at the May Event, a weekend training seminar and judging session to choose the 12 Princess Kay finalists.
Two of Stearns County’s own dairy princesses, Kirsten Meier and Christine Reitsma, were named finalists, kicking off an exciting summer for the county. June 2, was the famous Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm held at Landwehr’s Dairy in Watkins where more than 2,200 people were served breakfast and given farm tours. June Dairy Month continued on with multiple library visits, grocery store visits, and bank visits where we got to serve a lot of ice cream.
The end of July marked the Stearns County Fair where we got to work in the malt booth serving the wholesome, nutritious, and good-tasting product with a smile. We also stayed busy this summer, traveling the county riding, smiling, and waving in multiple parades and throwing out cheese sticks to the excited parade goers. In August, Stearns County’s Christine Reitsma, was crowned the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and became the first ever Princess Kay from Stearns County. Throughout the school year, the dairy princesses and ambassadors did multiple classroom visits, teaching students about the importance of dairy. It has been one incredible year, and I have learned so much. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to represent the hard-working dairy farmers of Stearns County this past year.
A couple of Saturdays ago, on March 9, I gave up my crown as a 2012-2013 Stearns County dairy princess. It was such an awesome experience this past year that I decided to run again. There were 13 of us candidates this year vying for seven crowns. As a day full of speeches, personal interviews, and mock-radio interviews came to an end, we were anxious to hear the results. I was blessed, once again, with the honor to be crowned one of the seven Stearns County dairy princesses this year. The other princesses crowned were Chelsea Gerads of Albany, Sabrina Ley of Belgrade, Kari Middendorf of Sauk Centre, Maria Molitor of St. Cloud, Trisha Molitor of Belgrade, and Ashley Overman of Freeport. Ashley Bertram of Paynesville, Carrie Felling of Belgrade, Katie Kalthoff of Melrose, Tiffiny Kerfeld of Albany, and Natausha Simon of St. Joseph will all serve as Stearns County dairy ambassadors. Maria Molitor was awarded Miss Congeniality.
I want to thank Organic Valley for being my sponsor both years. I would also like to thank the Stearns County American Dairy Association board members for all that they do for the dairy princess program, to make this opportunity possible. A special thanks to Lisa and Darrel Maus, the dairy princess coordinators. And lastly, the biggest thank you to my family for supporting me in all I do. I would not be here today if it were not for them.
One date to mark on your calendars is the Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm, which will be held Saturday, June 1, at Groetsch Dairy near Albany. The next dates are July 31, through Aug. 4, for the Stearns County Fairy in Sauk Centre. I could not be more thrilled to be able to embark on the journey once again this upcoming year, serving as a Stearns County dairy princess. I am excited to be able to share my passion of the dairy industry with all consumers. I am so proud of what my family does, and I look forward to sharing not only my story, but all of the stories of the Stearns County dairy farmers throughout this next year of my reign.
I am the daughter of John and Chris Donnay, and I am currently pursuing a degree in biological chemistry at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.
On the left is Dairy Princess Maria Donnay with Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Christine Reitsma.
Stearns County Dairy Princesses for 2013-2014 are from left, Kari Middendorf, Chelsea Gerads, Ashley Overman, Maria Molitor, Maria Donnay, Sabrina Ley, & Trisha Molitor. Submitted photos.