ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota man proposes to girlfriend with crop art at State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Did you hear the one about the guy who proposed to his girlfriend at the crop art exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair? He poppy-seeded the question. St. Paul resident Bryan Kennedy said it with seeds when he steered his b...

1973489+1cropartproposalWEB.jpg

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Did you hear the one about the guy who proposed to his girlfriend at the crop art exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair?

He poppy-seeded the question.

St. Paul resident Bryan Kennedy said it with seeds when he steered his beloved, Betsy Gilbertson, to the Agriculture/Horticulture Building soon after the State Fair opened Thursday morning.

Waiting for them among the entries displayed in the crop art competition was an image made from millet, lentils, clover, turnip, columbine, celosia, amaranth, dianthus and poppy seeds.

They were carefully arranged to depict a shiny diamond ring. The text in the picture read: “Hey, Betsy - Here’s a ring you don’t have to wear. Will ya? - Bryan.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Kennedy, 38, said he and Gilbertson have been talking about getting married for a while, but he knew Gilbertson, a 32-year-old family medicine doctor, wasn’t interested in the idea of wearing a big engagement ring.

Kennedy said he still wanted to make a grand gesture for the proposal. But how to do it without a sparkly piece of bling?

Kennedy is the director of exhibit media at the Science Museum of Minnesota. In the spring, he was having drinks with co-worker Mark Dahlager and Dahlager’s wife, Laura Melnick. Dahlager and Melnick are both experienced crop seed artists, and that’s when the idea of using a crop art entry to get engaged came up.

Kennedy said the idea of a nontraditional proposal fits the couple’s tastes. He said a diamond ring is “just a symbol that doesn’t resonate with us.”

Some relatives predicted the pair would come home engaged after recent trips to France and Spain. But Kennedy said proposing in a romantic foreign country “seems too stereotypical.”

The Fair, however, seemed just right. They are both fans of the Fair and of crop art.

“The State Fair is something that’s special to us,” Kennedy said.

Plus since Melnick volunteered to create the seed art proposal, “I don’t have to do a lot of work,” Kennedy said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kennedy, however, did have to make an effort to make sure Gilbertson didn’t find out about the proposal prematurely.

“So many people come through here,” he said of the crop art exhibit. “Everyone at work knows.”

At 9:13 a.m., he and Gilbertson joined the small group of early birds studying the wall where the crop art entries were hung. Kennedy tried to look nonchalant, but he admitted afterward that his legs were shaking.

Gilbertson was unsuspecting until she saw her name spelled out in seeds.

The answer was yes.

“You’re sure?” Kennedy said.

“Of course,” she said.

Some of the crop art fans around them figured out what was happening. They clapped and offered congratulations.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I totally cried,” Gilbertson said. “It’s so romantic.”

She said the Great Minnesota Get-Together was a great place to decide to get together for life. Two years ago, six months after the couple met, they went to the State Fair five or six times together.

“I think this is one of the places where we fell in love,” she said. “We both loved the State Fair.”

Gilbertson entered a granola she made in the Fair’s honey competition. She didn’t get an award. Melnick’s creation took third place in the “special occasion” division of the crop art contest.

But Gilbertson said, “I can say I got the nicest prize at the Fair.”

When asked what they were going to do next, Kennedy said, “I suppose we should go on Ye Old Mill.”

The Pioneer Press is media partner with Forum News Service

What To Read Next
Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association were pleased with items in Gov. Tim Walz's "One Minnesota Budget" proposal.
John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation recently announced they had come to an agreement that will lead to more accessible repairs to John Deere equipment.
Sponsors include Farmers Union Enterprises, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.
Egg prices reached record highs in December 2022 and have now surpassed $5 per dozen in supermarkets across the region.