PINEVILLE - Tradition continued at the 2012 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival with the Governor’s Luncheon Saturday. Each year, community members gather at the Pine Mountain State Park Lodge for a brief lunch before the Queen’s Coronation.
Decorated in pastel green and pink, and bouquets featuring the mountain laurel, the luncheon was a perfect break from outside activities in the 90-plus degree heat. Guests arrived in spring attire while the quartet, “Pay it Fourward”, sang acapella, including a beautiful rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home.”
The luncheon started with an invocation by Ernie Trosper, KMLF vice president elect. Lunch was then served, buffet style. Edward Wilson, KMLF president, then introduced the head table which included Governor Steve Beshear, Park Director Stephen Easton, and various KMLF Association members.
Special guests included Former Governor Paul Patton and his wife, Judy Patton, Deputy Park Commissioner Steve Brooks, and Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader.
Governor Beshear was the guest of honor and has attended every luncheon during his governorship. The Governor congratulated the community on continuing the tradition of the Mountain Laurel Festival, praising the festival for what it does for the local community as well as the state’s economy in terms of the tourism industry.
He likened the KMLF to other top industries in Kentucky, including the Kentucky Derby and the bourbon industry and stated, “The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is part of who we are and what we are.”
He jokingly added that he looked forward to crowning the new KMLF queen, but also being the one who gets to kiss her on the cheek.
The day began with the parade held in downtown Pineville, which had a delayed start causing guests to rush through their lunch before heading to the Laurel Cove Amphitheatre in time for the crowning event of the festival, the Queen’s Coronation.