Big turnout expected for Mountain State Forest Festival

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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ELKINS, W.Va (WDTV) - This week marks the 85th Annual Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins.

The Monongahela National Forest is home to millions of trees and there’s hardly a better place to admire them than at this weeks Mountain State Forest Festival.

Since the 1930′s Elkins has been proud to host thousands of festival goers every year.

The festivals president Ben Shaffer says they’re expecting a big turnout from people all over West Virginia and beyond.

“I think a lot of it’s tradition that we’ve been able to do this 85 times I think it says a lot and I think we do change from year to year a little bit, some things fall off and new things come on, but we really do cater to what the people want,” said Shaffer.

Festival goers can expect games, rides, food and nightly entertainment at the festival stage downtown.

One of the longest running traditions of the festival is the crowning of Maid Silvia. This year Barbour County native and Davis & Elkins graduate Anna Marie Ruf will be crowned the 85th Queen Silvia.

Ruf says its a huge honor and is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a festival she’s held dear for so long.

“It’s just a time for the entire community to come together, not just Randolph County, but even people from other counties -- I know being from Barbour County I knew the Forest Festival very well through the Phillip Barbour band marching in the parades,” said Ruf.

The coronation is Friday at 2 p.m. with the parade and ball following later that evening.

Shaffer says 40 other princesses from around the state will also be partaking in this celebration.

“They’ll be part of the coronation ceremony along with our state dignitaries and typically our governor does the crowning so it’s really -- it’s a good event costumes and gowns that have been produced throughout the years, so it’s really something to behold if you haven’t seen it,” said Shaffer.