St. Paul groups honor ag heritage

Emily Ayshford

Nearing the end of the semester, some students just cannot wait for Spring Jam next week to break from their studies.

Luckily, another spring celebration offers students a distraction.

Minnesota Royal offers free food, activities and shows on the St. Paul campus this week.

Put on by eight St. Paul campus student organizations, the celebration aims to “pull together the student groups in St. Paul,” said Minnesota Royal co-chairwoman Beth Lauwagie, a University junior.

“It’s also a way to celebrate agriculture,” she said.

This year’s celebration, which began Monday and lasts until April 19, includes a talent contest and crowning of royalty.

“We like to think of it as the St. Paul homecoming,” committee chairman Andy Sorsoleil said.

The celebration began in 1916 as a livestock showmanship competition and has changed over the years to include new and different activities on the

St. Paul campus.

Although no big changes were made to this year’s celebration schedule, a free pancake breakfast, today at the North Star Ballroom, was added to the lineup.

This year’s theme, “Minnesota Royal 55108” spoofs the popular ’90s television show “Beverly Hills 90210.”

During the milkmaid contest – an annual favorite – each participating student group lip-synchs to a song while its female royalty candidate milks a cow for 30 seconds. Whoever has the most milk at the end of the time limit wins.

“It’s just kind of a goofy

activity,” Sorsoleil said.

The Ag Olympics on Friday includes egg- and keg-tosses, a tug-of-war, a relay race and an animal-calling contest. Whoever can give the best animal call with corresponding gestures wins.

Lauwagie said Saturday is the “capstone of our week,” with amateur and professional swine, sheep, beef and dairy shows filling the day.

Lauwagie said they have some “pretty fun celebrities” coming for the Celebrity Olympics on Saturday, including the Minnesota Twins mascot, Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Tae VanderKooi, and Vulcanus Rex and Krewe representatives.

The committee has been planning the celebration since November, and its members have garnered nearly $10,000 to support it.

“Basically, it is a time to celebrate agriculture and what our college has to offer,” Sorsoleil said.