The 92nd Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival kicks off in Pineville

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:17 PM EDT
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BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The 92nd Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival kicked off in Pineville on Thursday, but festivities were in full swing downtown on Friday.

“It’s really beautiful. I mean you have people coming out from everywhere just to see our little city,” said festival-goer Hannah Taylor. “You meet a lot of new people, you make new traditions, its great.”

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Festival organizers say KMLF began in 1931 as a way to bring people in to experience all that the mountains have to offer.

“We have our princess coronation, which is actually tonight, then the queen’s coronation tomorrow and its all centered around a lot of that. The ten o’clock a.m. parade Saturday, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, there’s no better place to be than Pineville,” said festival board member John Combs.

Organizers added that the community support and countless volunteers are what help to make this tradition continue each year.

“It’s not the same thing every year because it does get better, so certainly come down and look at the different additions they added to make this better and stronger and that’s what they keep doing every year. They start in June working on next year’s festival, so it’s not just lip service, they actually work. That’s why we’re here 92 years in a row,” Combs said.

From the food to the pageantry, festival director Debra Lambert, said she hopes the traditions continue to withstand the test of time.

“Well, I think we all look forward to that sense of community and belonging and that brings us all together around something positive about where we grew up and what we felt a part of,” Lambert said.

The festivities continue on Saturday with a parade at 10:00 a.m. and the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Queen Coronation at 2:00 p.m.