Rising sophomore crowned Mountain Laurel Festival Queen
RELEASED: May 31, 2007
[Editor's Note: Junior Katt McGinley, a psychology major from Taylorsville, Ky., wrote this feature.]
DANVILLE, KY—Rising Centre sophomore Sarah Hargis was crowned this year's Mountain Laurel Festival Queen on Saturday, May 26 in Pineville, Ky., with the traditional crown of Mountain Laurel blossoms.
Hargis, of Henderson, Ky., is the first representative from Centre to win the competition since 1967 when the queen was Mary Elizabeth Dedman Young '68. Hargis says that during the event she "fell in love with the city of Pineville" and will "never forget the genuine hospitality" that the city prides itself on.
First held in 1931, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival honors Dr. Thomas Walker, the first European to visit Kentucky. He and a group of explorers came to the site of current day Pineville in 1750. The festival held in his honor is the oldest continuously held event of its kind in the United States.
Held this year from May 24-27, the festival consists of concerts, dances, a parade and the competition to be Mountain Laurel Festival Queen. This competition is the highlight of the festival and takes place among representatives chosen from colleges and universities across Kentucky.
After their introduction on Thursday evening at the start of the festival, the candidates for Queen met and mingled with festival goers—including the judges whose identities were kept hidden—at a variety of picnics, dinners and other events where they were judged on their poise, manners, personality and appearance until the coronation ceremony on Saturday. During the ceremony the candidates, all wearing formal white gowns and gloves, performed a curtsy to Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as the final event in the competition. The judges then conferred with one another briefly before announcing Hargis as this year's queen."It was a beautiful, beautiful event," Hargis says, "Not only physically but emotionally. They truly made all the candidates feel like queens."
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