April 11, 2014. Louisville, KY. – Julia Springate was selected as the 2014 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen tonight at the 58th annual Fillies Derby Ball in the Archibald Cochran Ballroom of the Galt House Hotel. Springate, of Louisville, KY is a senior at Centre College. Springate is majoring in biology and serves on the Centre Student Senate and volunteers for several organizations such as Salvation Army and Harvesting Hope Food Pantry.
This year’s Derby Festival Princesses anxiously awaited the traditional spin-of-the-wheel, performed by 2014 Fillies President Suzann Thompson. The other members of the court include: Morgan Cooksey of Louisville, KY, a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in political science; Eriauna Stratton of Louisville, KY, a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in elementary education; Grace Trimble of Winchester, KY, a junior at the University of Kentucky majoring in political science; and Grace Wainwright of Louisville, KY, a senior majoring in bioengineering at the University of Louisville.
The members of the Royal Court have been representing the Festival at a variety of events since their selection in January, including Festival Unveiled, the Ford Motor Company Spelling Bee and Macy’s Spring Fashion Show. They were selected as Royal Court members out of more than 100 young women who applied to participate in the program last fall.
Criteria for selection included knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus/community involvement. Each woman receives two $1,000 scholarships (one from the Fillies, Inc., and one from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation) and an official wardrobe provided by Anthropologie, Ben Franklin, CAbi, Dillard’s, Frenchy by Heather French Henry, Gretchen Scott, Horsefeathers by Jo Graves, I.N.C. International Concepts, J. Staples Jewelers, Julie Hinson (Talbot), Kentucky Derby Festival, Koi by Delanor, Macy’s, Mary Katherine’s & Me, Merci’, Merkley Kendrick Jewelers, Miss Priss, Nancy Rust, Nstyle, Olivia & Co., Seng Jewelers, Stella & Dot (Becky Fangman), The Eye Care Institute, Tunie’s, and Work the Metal.
The Princesses act as ambassadors for the Derby Festival and the city as they represent the community at a variety of functions. The Fillies, Inc. was established to support the Kentucky Derby Festival. Their mission is to organize the traditional Fillies Derby Ball, coordinate the “Royal Court Program,” produce the “Children’s Tea” event, and publish the Official Derby Festival Program. Membership is limited to 250 ladies of our community.
Past Derby Festival Queens include Martha Layne Collins – Kentucky’s first woman Governor, Gail Gorski – the first female pilot for United Airlines and a number of other community leaders. Many say their Derby Festival experience helped them prepare for their future careers.
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.