Press Release

For Immediate Release


This release is to notify all citizens that the 2020 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is hereby cancelled.

After several meetings, and compliance with the State and Federal Government, due to the spread of Covid 19 (Corona Virus) the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Board of Directors President Neal Bennett, and local advisory board had no choice but to cancel this year’s festival. Kentucky State Parks are closing through the month of May and many vendor, entertainment acts, and colleges are unavailable to serve or perform functions within.

“ The health and safety of you, your families, and the visitors to our community are first and foremost in our minds.” Said Bennett.   Nearly a year of preparation goes into each year’s festival and most events could not happen due to the nature of this pandemic.

Local Chairperson Colby Slusher said in a statement that “this was one of the hardest announcements he’s ever had to make.”   “The festival is a staple to the Pineville community and important to everyone in Bell County and across our great Commonwealth. With students out of school, businesses closed, and business as usual at a standstill the local Advisory Board voted unanimously to cancel this year’s festival.”   Slusher further stated “ I am confident that we as Kentuckians will persevere and get through these uncertain times, but unfortunately we don’t know when that time will come”. “May thoughts and prayers be with all those during this time of uncertainty. We hope to see each of you next year happy and healthy at the 2021 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival.”

General Inquiries and/or questions can be directed to the Kentucky Mountain Laurel festival office by calling 606-337-6103.


Dates for the 2021 Festival: Thursday, May 26th thru Sunday, May 30th







2019 Queen-Lauren Bohl

Union College





2019 Princess- Brooklyn Dawn Grigsby

Middlesboro High School



The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is one of Kentucky's oldest festivals, finding its start in 1931, when Mrs. Annie Walker Burns established the festival as a way to honor her famous ancestor, Dr. Thomas Walker, a pioneer explore. Since that time, the devotion and hospitality of so many, along with the resonant history of the festival, have enabled this beautiful event to thrive for eighty years.


We think you'll enjoy our quaint and historic town nestled in the Appalachian foothills of Bell County, Kentucky where Southern hospitality reigns throughout. The festival features many events including a Queen's Coronation. Many Queens have been celebrated in song, verse and festival for centuries, it's only suitable that our time honored festival garland a Queen with our native Mountain Laurel. We open our homes to these accomplished and lovely young Queen Candidates, selected by and to represent their Kentucky College or University in the annual pageant. During the Coronation, held at an exquisite outdoor amphitheater near the close of the weekend, each Queen curtseys to the Governor of Kentucky- and in turn he crowns the winning Queen.


We are certain that as you browse this site, you will be more encouraged to join us as we celebrate the 89th annual Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival. All KMLF events are family oriented; many are free and open to the public; those requiring tickets are reasonably priced. For more information contact us the KMLF office at (606) 337-6103.  Find us on Facebook & Twitter.


Photos can be viewed on our gallery. 


Donate to the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Foundation. The festival wouldn’t exist without your contributions.