The five women selected to serve as Princesses in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival’s Royal Court were announced on Jan. 14. They are:
Chelsea Diamond of Louisville, Ky. is a junior majoring in exercise science at Transylvania. Chelsea is a triathlete, has served as the head coach for Owl Creek Swim Team and is the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Pioneer Award.
Katherine Gardner of Greenville, Ky. is a senior majoring in industrial & mechanical engineering at The University of Louisville. She is the recipient of several academic scholarships as well as the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers Service Award.
Allison Grant of Harrodsburg, Ky. is a sophomore majoring in biology at the University of Louisville. She is a University of Louisville Guaranteed Entrance into Medical School student and a member of Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity. Grant also serves at Habitat for Humanity as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Cameryn Jones of Goshen, Ky. is a senior majoring in food science at the University of Kentucky. She has been named to the Dean’s List five times and serves as the Recruitment President & Career and Personal Development Director for Chi Omega.
Dominique Luster of Louisville, Ky. is a junior majoring in theatre at the University of Kentucky. She is a 2012 Discover Germany Fulbright Scholar and serves as a UK College of Fine Arts Recruitment Ambassador.
Olivia McMillen of Louisville, Ky., was chosen as the second alternate. McMillen also attends the University of Louisville where she is majoring in marketing.
They will become Princesses if one of the other women is unable to serve.
The five young women selected as Princesses will act as ambassadors for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival, attending nearly 70 events over a two-week period. Thirty were selected as finalists out of the more than 100 original applicants for the five Princess positions, and all attended the final judging this weekend. None of them knew in advance who had been selected.
The court will represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. They will attend nearly every official Derby Festival event, beginning with the Poster Premiere on Jan. 23, to their appearance in the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 2. In addition, they will attend the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and make visits to schools to discuss the importance of volunteerism.
One of the five women will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 19 at the Galt House East Grand Ballroom. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).
The Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival. Fillies President Becky Fangman joined 2013 Derby Festival Chair Chris Whelan in crowning the newly appointed court.
Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The first Derby Festival Princess was crowned in 1957, the second year of the Festival. Previous Princesses have included former Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and Gail Gorski, the first female pilot ever hired by United Airlines.
The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.