August 31, 2022. Louisville, KY. –   The search is on for new Kentucky Derby Festival royalty! Young women from Kentucky or Southern Indiana who are full-time college students (in at least their 2nd year) are eligible. Applications open TODAY and the deadline to submit for the 2023 Royal Court is October 16. Applications must be submitted online at KDF.org/RoyalCourt.

“For more than 60 years, the Royal Court has been one of the hallmark traditions showcasing the spirit of the Derby Festival in our community,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. “This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience packed with countless opportunities during our favorite time of year. We look forward to crowning the 2023 Royal Court.”

The Royal Court program celebrates the state’s most civic-minded and academically achieving college students. Each year, five young women are chosen as Derby Festival Princesses to represent The Fillies®, the Kentucky Derby Festival, the City of Louisville, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. Then, one of the Derby Princesses® is crowned the Derby Queen® by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball®.

“Being chosen as part of the 2022 Royal Court to represent the Derby Festival, the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky was a dream come true,” said Nancy Ngo, Queen of the 2022 Royal Court. “As an Asian American, it also gave me the opportunity to be a role model for those in the AAPI community and to demonstrate that confidence, dedication to academic success and passion for service can be celebrated in many different ways.”

Each member of the Royal Court receives two $1,000 scholarships – one from The Fillies, Inc., and one from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation. In addition to other sponsor gifts, each woman also receives a complimentary wardrobe.

The Derby Festival Royal Court® program is overseen by members of The Fillies, Inc., a non-profit organization with 250 community volunteers. Since 1957, past Derby Festival Queens and Courts have been making an impression on their community. They include Martha Layne Collins, Kentucky’s first woman Governor, Miss Kentucky 2022 Hannah Edelen and a number of other community leaders.

The Royal Court selection process is a self-nominating procedure. Applicants must be residents of Kentucky or the metropolitan area, including Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties in Indiana, and full-time college students (in at least their 2nd year), with a minimum accumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Candidates must also be poised, outstanding in the community and 18 years old on or before December 31, 2022.

More information and the 2023 application can be found online at KDF.org/RoyalCourt.

June 21 - June 21