Grigsby named Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Princess

Published 12:13 am Saturday, May 25, 2019

The 69th Kentucky Mountain Laurel Princess was crowned Friday night in front of hundreds of spectators packed inside Pineville High School Orville Engle Gymnasium.

The judges chose Brooklyn Dawn Grigsby, representing Middlesboro High School, to be crowned out of a group of 12 young ladies representing schools throughout the southeast region of Kentucky.

“It’s such a surreal moment,” Grigsby said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little girl, and it’s just the biggest dream come true honestly. It’s so wonderful and it’s been such a wonderful weekend with all the girls. I’m just so blessed.”

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Brooklyn is following in the footsteps of her older sister, Taylor Grigsby Bowling, who was crowned the 2013 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Princess.

“Just to be able to have this experience just like she did, it’s just been so awesome,” Grigsby exclaimed. “I’ve always looked up to her as a role model, and it’s just been so wonderful to do the exact same thing that she has.”

“Well, first of all, this has been her dream come true ever since her big sister won this same contest a few years ago, and she wants to follow her big sister’s footsteps. It’s unbelievable,” Brooklyn’s dad Donny Grigsby said. “Just being a part of this, when you go in deep with the Mountain Laurel and you experience what she’s experienced over the last two days, meeting friends, being a part of the history and learning so much about it, it’s just an unbelievable thing and, as her dad, I’m just so proud.”

Cory Samuel Evans, who was escorting Grigsby for the night, entertained the crowd with his vocals after the princesses were introduced. Evans brought cheers and claps throughout his performances.

Following his performance, the princesses took the floor once again for the announcement of winners and then the crowning of the princess.

Winning Miss Congeniality was Rachel Mae Bonnell, Best Escort was Zachary Deaton, and Miss Photogenic was Taylor Nicole Hampton.

The drumroll began and Master of Ceremonies, Tanner Hesterberg, announced Grigsby as the 2019 Princess.

Reigning Princess Sarah Elizabeth Combs crowned Grigsby, who had a vibrant smile across her face as the crowd cheered while Combs hugged her in congratulations.

The Princess Court was also honored for their special appearances throughout the evening. This year, the Princess Court included Mia Blair Collett, Lucas Kyle Patterson, Madeline Michelle Thompson, and Waylon Issac Madon.

The first Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival was held in 1931 and is known as the oldest festival of its kind in the United States. Betty Baxter, who represented Eastern State College, was crowned queen that year. The Princess Coronation was not introduced to the festival until 1950. Marty Blair, representing Barbourville High School, was the first princess to be crowned.

After the Princess Coronation, the festivities continued and included a lip sync battle in Courthouse Square hosted by The Big 106.3’s Brian O’Brien and ended with the annual fireworks display hosted by Pyro Shows of LaFollette, Tenn.