Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival underway in Pineville

By: Angela Sparkman; Laura Beranek Email
By: Angela Sparkman; Laura Beranek Email
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While hundreds of visitors pile in to Bell County for the annual Mountain Laurel Festival, they have the opportunity to enjoy local entertainment and vendors.

"We're from Pineville, Kentucky and we have another group of people that dance with us but they're from Tennessee," said Sharon Parrott with the Pine Mountain Dancers, "But we don't hold that against them."

The line-dancing group performed downtown for spectators, a show they say they've been doing since 1991.

"I live here so we've always done it," said Parrott, "We just got on the program and I used to be in charge of the entertainment so I know the ins and outs."

Saturday evening festivities concluded with a street dance and concert.
The 84th annual Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is underway in downtown Pineville.

The historical festival has arts and crafts, food, music, and the crowning of the queen and princess.

The event celebrates Kentucky's mountain heritage.

"It's a wonderful occasion when all the community people came come out and fellowship and join in the festivities of this historic event and it is very much historic," one man said.

The Dixieland South Band has been playing here for 31 years.

"We feel very much a part of the heritage here being here that long. When we first started coming, those princess girls then probably have grandchildren now," one band member said.

A new princess and queen will be crowned this weekend. Girls from all over Kentucky are here for the event.

"It is beautiful. The people are great. It's just a great time to be here," said Sabrina Tom, Queen Candidate from Lindsey Wilson College.

"I'm so excited to see the new queen and just because I'm giving up my crown, it doesn't mean I won't be here and I love coming here, so I look forward to coming back," said 2013 Queen Madison McCowan. "It's something like you've never seen before. This is a true southern tradition that's been around since 1931 and it's something the whole community gets involved in."

People also come for the Kentucky heritage celebration. The event showcases arts and crafts and music.

"It's one of the classiest events in the state of Kentucky that I've ever attended. It's something we can keep the tradition going and I'm proud to say i've been a part of it for several years," said Ashley Madon.

"So it becomes a really big family tradition and I get to see people I've not seen in over a year and it's just a great time for everyone," said Leigh Ann Baker.

Organizers say it is a great time to show off Eastern Kentucky heritage to the rest of the world.

The festival continues on Saturday with the parade at 10:00am. The luncheon with Governor Steve Beshear is at noon at Pine Mountain State Park, followed by the Queen Pageant at 2:00pm.

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