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Laurel City Commission

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About


Winsted gained the name The Laurel City in 1930, after a resident Frank H. DeMars and other members of the community noted the abundance of mountain laurel in the area. In 1932 the Winsted Horticultural Society was formed and the seeds were planted that would eventually produce The Laurel Festival. The first Laurel Queen Gladys Weaving was crowned in 1934, initially the contest began as a beauty pageant but has since turned into a scholarship program.  Each year the Laurel City Commission organizes a parade and ball to bring together Winsted’s youth and build community spirit through these events.

A Meet and Greet kicks off the annual traditions, usually in early spring.  Photos are taken of the candidates in May for newspaper articles, the town's website, social media, and programs. At the Meet and Greet, the candidates learn about what makes a great Laurel Queen and Laurel King.  Each young candidate is provided with information and an opportunity to learn about the decades-old town tradition. Each nominee/candidate finds a sponsor or can get assistance with finding one. The sponsor will assist candidates on their journey to become the next potential Laurel Queen and/or Laurel King.

Later, in May, the candidates are interviewed usually the morning of the parade at Town Hall.  Candidates are questioned about how they are progressing in school, community involvement, accomplishments, dreams and goals. The lovely Laurel ball, which is open to everyone is held sometime in June. Dress for the ball is formal.

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FAQs

How do I become a candidate?
Sign up with the Laurel City Commission at your school. Please contact Lauren Dombrowski at ldombrowski@townofwinchester.org for any additional paperwork you need or to ask questions regarding the paperwork. All paperwork must be received by April 26, 2024.
Do I need to provide pictures for the paper and Laurel Festival program?
Yes. A Junior or Senior photo (head and shoulder shot) is preferred and will be returned to you. The Laurel Commission will also have a photo session that you are required to participate in and can use if you would like to. The photo session will be announced.
Do I need to know someone to sponsor me?
No, there are always organizations and local businesses that are looking to sponsor candidates. The Laurel City Commission will provide a list of potential sponsors at your request. Please contact Lauren Dombrowski at ldombrowski@townofwinchester.org to assist you further.
What are my sponsor’s responsibilities?
Your sponsor is responsible for paying the Sponsor Fee. Your sponsor may be interested in being more involved (help to find or donate the parade vehicle, helping to donate your parade vehicle, etc.).The candidate and sponsor should coordinate and discuss in advance, which, if any, responsibilities will be shared or delegated.
What are my responsibilities as a candidate?
You must attend all the activities. Candidates are encouraged to invite family, friends, and sponsors to the events of the weekend. You do not need to sell tickets to the Laurel Ball. Simply provide your guests with our contact information and we will coordinate the rest. Candidates (along with their family, friends, and/or sponsors) will have to arrange to have a car or a float for the parade. Parade vehicles should be decorated. If you have trouble finding a parade vehicle, let us know as soon as possible. We will try to help; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide a vehicle for you.
What do I receive if I am chosen as Laurel Queen/King or Runner-Up?
The candidates who are crowned Laurel Queen and Laurel King will each receive a crown and a scholarship. The Runner-Up Queen and Runner-Up King are each awarded scholarships. The 2nd Runner-up Queen and King will receive scholarships.
What do I wear?
For the Laurel Ball, candidates should wear a formal gown (a prom dress is fine),dress pants, shirt and tie (jackets options). Your escort should wear a dress, dress pants, a dress shirt and tie (also no denim please). Any outfit that you would wear to an evening wedding is appropriate. Corsages/boutonnieres are not required but remember if wearing a corsage or boutonniere, it may only be made of Laurel. For the interviews, please wear "business casual attire" such as a dress, pants, capris, or some other suitable outfit. The total length of the interviews will depend on the total number of contestants. Your parade dress attire should also be formal and may be the same outfit as worn to the Laurel Ball if desired. We do not want you to go to great expense to purchase formal dresses.
Can my friends come?
Absolutely!!! We welcome everyone and encourage you to invite them all. Ball tickets must be purchased for $30 for individual tickets or $300 for a table of 10. Student tickets are $15. Reservations for the Ball must be purchased in advance. Please contact Lauren Dombrowski via email ldombrowski@townofwicnhester.org.
If I am crowned Laurel Queen, Laurel King or one of the Runners-Up, when will I receive my scholarship?
The scholarships will be awarded at the Town of Winchester Board of Selectmen Meeting following the Laurel Ball. After the Ball, someone will contact you to confirm the specific date and time of this meeting. Please dress "business casual" and wear your sash (and crown if applicable).
What are my responsibilities as Laurel Queen/King?
As Laurel Queen and Laurel King, you are an ambassador for our community. The manor in which the Laurel Queen and King conduct themselves should always be that of respect for each other, the Laurel City, and its Commission, at all times during his/her reign. Other public appearances will be scheduled based on your availability.

Staff & Contacts

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Board Members

Members
Term
Kim Ahrens
Member
-
Ashley Kelsey
Member
-
Lauren Dombrowski
Member
-
Colleen Garrity
Member
-
Terry Hall
Member
-
Jonathan Morhardt
Chairman
-
Alternate Members
Term
No contacts have been found for this entity.

Commission Members

Members
Term
Kim Ahrens
Member
-
Ashley Kelsey
Member
-
Lauren Dombrowski
Member
-
Colleen Garrity
Member
-
Terry Hall
Member
-
Jonathan Morhardt
Chairman
-
Alternate Members
Term
No contacts have been found for this entity.

Committee Members

Members
Term
Kim Ahrens
Member
-
Ashley Kelsey
Member
-
Lauren Dombrowski
Member
-
Colleen Garrity
Member
-
Terry Hall
Member
-
Jonathan Morhardt
Chairman
-
Alternate Members
Term
No contacts have been found for this entity.

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