PINEVILLE — The weather was humid and the temperature was blazing, but that was not enough to keep people away from the 82nd Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival (KMLF) Queens Coronation.
Each year, young ladies from across the Commonwealth proudly represent their college or university as candidates for KMLF Queen pageant. This year, 23 beautiful women graced the stage of the Laurel Cove Amphitheater with hopes of becoming the next queen.
The coronation ceremony, emceed by Gregory D. Stumbo (Speaker of the House), is the culmination of the weekend long activities, where Queen candidates are judged and one is chosen as queen.
As the ceremony began 2011 Queen Jefra Kaysi Bland (University of Kentucky) took her last walk as reigning queen. Then, one by one, the 2012 KMLF queen candidates descended into the cove to greet Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and the crowd with their traditional curtsy. Each candidate epitomized beauty and grace throughout the pageant, but in the end only one would be named queen.
Miss Jamie Elizabeth Horne, representing Georgetown College, won the judges votes this year and was named the 2012 Queen. As tradition holds, Governor Beshear had the honor of crowning the queen.
Horne, led by her court, made her way to the stage as applauding guests offered their congratulations to the new queen. She responded to each with heartfelt gratitude.
Having KMLF royalty in the family is not new to the Horne family, as the 2008 KMLF queen Kimberly Ashton Horne and the newly crowned queen are sisters. Both represented Georgetown College.
The Queen’s court, a tradition of the 82-year-old ceremony, is made up of young ladies representing area elementary and high schools, along with the remaining queen candidates. The court also paraded through the crowd participating in the long-standing pageant.
As the ceremony came to an end Governor Beshear led the audience in singing My Old Kentucky home. Despite the heat the audience gladly rose and joined their Governor in song, concluding the 82th KMLF Queen’s Coronation Pageant.
After the ceremony, candidates mingled with guests and posed for photographs with members of the audience. Later that evening Queen Horne was honored at the Grand Ball.
At the Grand Ball, the queen and former queen were recognized. All of the candidates proceeded in the queens march, and later the escorts had the honor of dancing with them.
Queen Horne was recognized again the next morning at the Queen’s Breakfast, the final event of the festival, where candidates said bitter sweet goodbyes to their new KMLF friends.