Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival starts Thursday

The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is just days away, with the festivities kicking off on Thursday, May 27 and running through Sunday, May 30 in and around downtown Pineville.

2021 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival General Chairman Jacob Roan talked about the expectations for this year’s festival.

Roan said as of May 17, the Festival’s opening night concert – which will feature hit country music duo Maddie and Tae – was already approaching a sellout.

“It’s nearly sold out,” Roan said. “We never dreamed when we moved it onto the football field that we would see the response that we’ve had as far as ticket sales. It’s really turned into a big hit.”

Roan added Gov. Andy Beshear is scheduled to appear at the event, as well as the current Miss Kentucky.

“The governor will be joining us to crown the queen,” Roan said. “Miss Kentucky is going to be in the parade and do some other things with us. The Cincinnati Circus is going to be doing the Wheel of Death and Fire show downtown on Saturday, which will begin at noon and start every hour on the hour until 5 o’clock.”

Roan said a recent American Idol contestant is also scheduled to make an appearance.

“We have Alyssa Wray,” Roan said. “She was an American Idol contestant this year – she finished in the top 10 – and she’ll be joining us on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. on the downtown stage.”

There are also many other folks expected to take part in the festivities.

“We have several other dignitaries that have become staples at the festival that are planning to join us again this year as well as all of our family and friends that join us every year and have made plans to come to Pineville again,” Roan said. “We’re expecting a huge crowd, and now we’re just turning to our prayer committee and hoping that we can be blessed with some good weather that weekend.”

The original plans for this year’s festival included much more restrictive COVID-19 guidelines, but recent developments have allowed some of these to be relaxed, Roan explained.

“We have a few capacity restrictions, we moved a couple of events back indoors,” Roan said. “Originally, our plan was to move almost everything outside. But we’ve been able to move the Princess Coronation back inside, as well as a few other events.”

Roan explained the inside events will see a capacity restriction.

“All the outdoor events will be at 75 percent capacity at least,” Roan said.

Other highlights of the event include a lip sync battle on the Courthouse Square at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 28, the KMLF Gala Parade through Downtown Pineville at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 29, and the KMLF Queen’s Grand Ball and Reception from 9 p.m. until midnight on Saturday, May 29.

Roan pointed out ticket sales have been faster than anticipated.

“We’re blessed to be able to return to a somewhat normal time,” Roan said. “The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is celebrating the 90th anniversary this year, and we invite everyone to come and join us. We are the first major event in the region since 2020. We have a lot of things in store, some surprises, and you won’t want to miss a moment of it.” For a complete schedule of events, concert tickets, and other information, go to the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival website at https://www.kmlf.org.