Photo Courtesy of Marvin Young Tara Dunaway was named 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen.

Photo Courtesy of Marvin Young

Tara Dunaway was named 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen.

Tara Dunaway, of Leitchfield, KY, was named the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen Saturday, April 14 at the 60th annual Fillies Derby Ball at The Galt House in Louisville.

Dunaway is currently going to school at the University of Louisville, where she is majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Business Management.

According to Dunaway, 146 Festival Princess Essays were submitted to the scholarship program last Fall. She said these essays highlighted each young lady's school accomplishments, community involvement and volunteer hours.

Of these essays, the top 80 were chosen and the applicants were interviewed, then the top 25 of those applicants were interviewed by local business people, according to Dunaway.

She said the top five applicants were chosen in January, and these five were named Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses.

According to a press release from Aimee Boyd, Kentucky Derby Festival's Vice President of Communications, "Criteria for selection included knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus/community involvement."

On Saturday, the queen was chosen from the five princesses by the "traditional spin of the wheel" by Fillies President Glenda Thome.

The other princesses include: Katie Bouchard, of Owensboro, Logan Howard, of Louisville, Morgan A. Redmond, of Louisville, and Caroline Will, of Louisville.

According to Dunaway, all five members of the court will receive scholarships; however, the Queen will receive more gifts from sponsors and attend more events alone.

The press release states, "Each woman receives two $1,000 scholarships; one from the Fillies, Inc., and one from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation, and an official wardrobe."

According to the press release, the Queen and Princesses "act as ambassadors for the Derby Festival and the city as they represent the community at a variety of functions."

According to Dunaway, she will attend over 75 events until the Derby takes place, in addition to going to school full-time and working part-time.

Dunaway said she will use her scholarships to help pay her tuition at Hult International Business School in Boston, as she pursues her Master's Degree.

She then plans to get her PhD to become a professor.

Dunaway said, "Since I have lived in Louisville, I have loved attending Derby Festival Events and seeing the public involvement and all the activities the Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses got to be a part of. It made me want to be an ambassador for the festival as well. I am honored to be able to represent a festival and a city that has had such a huge impact on my life, and it is definitely a once in a life time experience I will never forget."