CU Student Brittany Hall Named Miss Congeniality at Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival

By Ashley Zsedenyi, staff writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Brittany Hall always wanted to be a Southern Belle. She got her wish, and more, as she represented Campbellsville University at this year’s Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival (KMLF) where she was named Miss Congeniality.

Hall, a senior from Lawrenceburg, Ky., represented CU when the Valentine Queen winner, Miranda Meeks of Princeton, Ky., was unable to attend. Hall was second runner-up in the Valentine Pageant at CU.

“The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is unlike any pageant I have ever been a part of,” Hall said.

She said each college in Kentucky is permitted to send one representative to the pageant, which is in Pineville, Ky., and each Queen candidate either brings an escort or is provided an escort to accompany her to each KMLF activity.

“There wasn’t a talent portion or a formal interview. Each candidate, along with her escort, attends many dinner parties, receptions, household banquets and coronations, in which there are several ‘secret’ judges in the crowd at each event,” Hall said. “The judges don’t even know who the other judges are, nor do they ever find out.”

Each judge then picks his or her favorite three candidates, based on appearance, how they interact with others and how charming they appear to be. The top choice receives five points, second choice three and their third choice receives one point. The Queen with the most amount of points gets to be the Mountain Laurel Festival Queen.

“This is a very unique pageant steeped in tradition and poise. It is so elegant with southern charm and hospitality. I had to opportunity to meet and speak to so many people,” Hall said. “Pineville is a beautiful area filled with remarkably stellar people. They were all so terrific and sweet. I felt right at home.”

The only other judged activity is the Queen curtsey, which is performed at the coronation in front of the current governor, and the announcement of the Queen follows that event.

She said the coronation “is when we are all in white dresses and is a very formal affair.”

“I was so honored to even get to attend the festival, much more to be Campbellsville’s Queen!” Hall said.

“It was such a lovely affair. I got to be in a festival enriched in tradition, with big ball gowns, a Queen’s march, a parade ride, and lovely dinner parties and receptions. I met some of the most interesting and sweet people I think God ever made and was treated better than anyone ought to be treated.”

“It was so nice to be involved in something that celebrates gentlemen and ladies, manners and southern charm in a world that has obviously forgotten,” she said.

Andrew Hilliard, a senior from Elizabethtown, Ky., was Hall’s escort.

“Andrew was responsible for getting me to all of my activities and was expected to open my doors, carry my things and pull out my chair, as I was expected to carry on as a lady and be celebrated for being so. I loved it!”

“I always wanted to be a Southern Belle, and I definitely got my chance with this program,” Hall said.

“Having the Queen candidates pick me as Miss Congeniality was such an honor. I know that they voted on me, having seen me at my worst and my best in practice, at the end of a very exhausting day. It touched my heart to know that through it all they thought that I had character, spunk and personality. I was so honored and remembered what a great opportunity it was to meet all of them.”

Hall is the daughter of Rickey and Sherrie Hall of Lawrenceburg. She is a 2004 graduate of Anderson County High School and is the worship minister at Saloma Baptist Church. Hall is working with Kentucky Heartland Outreach as an intern this summer.

The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Pageant is the oldest known continuous event of its kind in the United States. It has been held annually except for six years during World War II since 1931.

The festival was initiated to honor Dr. Thomas Walker, the first European to enter Kentucky, and who visited the present location of Pineville, Ky., in 1750.

Other schools represented in the 2008 pageant were: Georgetown College; Kentucky Wesleyan College; Midway College; Morehead State University; Northern Kentucky University; St. Catherine College; Transylvania University; Union College; the University of Louisville; Western Kentucky University; Alice Lloyd College; Bluegrass Community and Technical College; Brescia University; Centre College; Eastern Kentucky University; Lindsey Wilson College; Murray State University; Pikeville College; Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College; the University of the Cumberlands; and the University of Kentucky.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.

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