I hope you all had a great time celebrating National Dairy Month by connecting with others to share your dairy story while enjoying your favorite dairy foods. My month was packed with fun-filled events and interactions with people across our state. I was able to make 16 official appearances and travel over 1,700 miles. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out on the road and getting to see everyone in person. I could not have asked for a better month with many miles on the road, a multitude of events, endless smiles and a lot of yummy dairy foods.    
    I started off the month by celebrating World Milk Day June 1. I had the opportunity to be in a National Milk Toast video. This video was put together by the Pennsylvania dairy princesses, and it included messages from other state dairy princesses from across the United States. It is so cool to see passionate dairy advocates represent their state in a unique way. That day, I also traveled to a June Dairy Month Kick-Off event where visitors could see the dairy farm and cows, drink an ice-cold glass of milk, enjoy ice cream and more.
    During the first weekend of June, I traveled to Hutchinson Dairy Days which included media interviews, a cow milking contest and a delicious meal. Next, I headed to the Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm. Visitors drove through the farm and stopped at stations to learn about calf care, dairy nutrition, agronomy, milking, veterinary care and dairy foods.
    Just in time for National Dairy Month, the milk science experiment video with the Science Museum of Minnesota was complete. This video was fun to create and was an incredible experience. If you have not seen it, be sure to check it out on Princess Kay’s Facebook page or on the Science Museum’s website. Another filming opportunity I had was a cooking segment called “Aprons Optional” hosted by Sara Bremer. During the episode, Sara and I made three dairy-filled recipes to share with the audience in honor of National Dairy Month. I brought my own recipe which was cheesy hash browns. We had fun in the kitchen talking about all things dairy from dairy nutrition to the dairy princess program for viewers to learn more about.
    Next came a Food Trucks on the Farm event with Midwest Dairy ambassadors and also an event close to my heart. I attended my home county’s breakfast on the farm. I loved getting to see familiar faces, interacting with everyone, handing out dairy goodies and enjoying delicious breakfast and dairy foods. I also headed to the Steele County Drive-In Dairy Days to meet people in the community, help at the petting zoo calf station and do farm animal tattoos.
    A busy week brought two virtual events: Gopher Dairy Club Camp and Minnesota 4-H Tasty Tuesdays. At the Harmony Learning Center, I read dairy stories with the kids and discussed the job of dairy farmers. Next, I visited the Maplewood Historical Society for Dairy Day at the Bruentrup Heritage Farm. They had ice cream, hayrides, milking demonstrations and butter making for guests to enjoy.
    My busiest day was three appearances. I began my day at the Goodhue County Drive-Thru Dairy Experience then traveled to Dairy Day at the Glock in New Ulm, Minnesota, at the KNUJ radio station and ended my day at the Barnyard Bash at FarmAmerica in Waseca, Minnesota. It was a day filled with greeting visitors, talking on the radio show, pouring glasses of milk, serving ice cream and interacting with guests. Finally, I ended my month at the NECC Daycare reading stories with the children there. It was fun to see their excitement and eagerness to learn about dairy.    
    From start to finish, National Dairy Month was filled with great events and incredible people. The amount of interactions and connections I can have with people continues to amaze me every time. You never realize the impact each conversation you have with someone can have. Every single interaction brings forth the opportunity to connect with consumers and help them gain a better understanding of dairy farming and where their food comes from.
    Although the month has come to an end, we get to encourage those around us to drink an extra glass of milk, add an extra ounce of cheese and enjoy an extra scoop of ice cream. I hope through our connections with consumers, we are able to help them experience the real enjoyment of dairy and know they are choosing a nutritious, wholesome and local product.
    I cannot wait to keep promoting dairy all summer long at a multitude of events. July also marks the start of National Ice Cream Month. Let’s all celebrate accordingly this month by enjoying our favorite ice cream treats and encouraging others to do the same.
     Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Brenna Connelly serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Throughout the year, Princess Kay helps people understand the dedication of dairy farmers to wholesome and nutritious food, and the way milk is produced. Princess Kay does many school presentations, represents dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 events that are held in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings, and is very active during June Dairy Month sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods.
    Brenna grew up in Byron, Minnesota, working on her cousin’s dairy farm. She is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, studying Agricultural Communication and Marketing. When she is not showing cattle or participating in dairy judging, she loves to read and travel.