2021 Mountain State Forest Festival Canceled Due to COVID Concerns

The Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors has announced they have canceled the 2021 celebration scheduled October 2 – October 10 amid concerns of the current surge in coronavirus infections.

The Board conferred with officials from Davis Health System before making the decision to put the health and safety of the community first, especially with the spread of the delta variant of the virus, and not add more stress on the hospital system or first responders.

We will begin issuing refunds this coming week.

MSFF Board of Directors is currently working hard to create as full a schedule as possible for the 2021 celebration

ELKINS — After having no Mountain State Forest Festival events in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSFF Board of Directors is currently working hard to create as full a schedule as possible for the 2021 celebration, including all the traditional parades and the downtown carnival.

Although the royal court, distinguished guest dinner, and opening and closing celebrations will be missing from this year’s Forest Festival, everything else looks like it’s a go, Director General Robbie Morris told The Inter-Mountain Tuesday.

“Everything is good to go and we are planning for everything except for a few things,” said Morris. “There won’t be a royal court with a queen, maids, princesses, and a minor court, but everything else we are currently planning on having other than a couple other things.”

Morris explained that no matter if things change or not with COVID-19 between now and this fall, in order for the festival to go on, everything has to be planned and booked now.

“We cannot plan these things within a week,” Morris said. “So the planning for all of the Forest Festival happens really, really early. And if we don’t start planning and doing work now, it’s never going to come together in October.

“So we are planning on having all of these things and that they will be permitted in October; however, if we get to later on in the year and COVID numbers spike back up through the summer, or governmental guidance comes back and says you can’t do this, we will have to cancel. But as of right now, we are planning as though everything will be permitted in October.”

Morris said the traditional MSFF carnival and food vendors are planned for downtown Elkins this fall. He said a country music show has been booked, as well as downtown stage entertainment.

Attractions are scheduled to be in the City Park and throughout downtown, and all of the MSFF parades are scheduled, as well.

“We are planning to have as much of a Forest Festival as possible,” said Morris. “We know how much people missed it last year. But everything is depending on how things continue to develop with regulations and guidelines for group gatherings.

“As of right now we are anticipating things to continue to open up and restrictions to be lifted. We are hopeful that by October, we will be able to have everything.”

Morris said he and his team will do the best they can to make sure the 2021 MSFF events will be enjoyed by the public.

“There is a large group of people who come together to make it happen every year and they’ve signed up and said they will do whatever they can,” Morris noted. “There could be some regulations or things we have to do in order to have certain events, so it may or may not look 100 percent normal but we’re going to try and do the best we can to have a great event that everyone can enjoy.”

The MSFF is scheduled for Oct. 2 through Oct. 10. Information on the act for this year’s Country Music Show will be released on Memorial Day weekend.

Forest Festival Cancels All Events for 2020

Forest Festival Cancels All Events for 2020 With Governor Justice’s restriction on fairs, festivals and outdoor concerts, the Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors has announced that any future events scheduled for 2020’s festival will be cancelled.

Board President Cliff Marstiller said the organization had originally been optimistic conditions would improve to have a scaled-down festival in the fall; however, with COVID-19 continuing to spread, the Governor’s shut-down of fairs and festivals, and overall logistic hurdles created by the virus, it was time to call it for 2020. “The decision to totally cancel is not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. Our first priority is the health of the community and we know this is the right decision.”

Plans for the 2020 festival will be rearranged into a 2021 event schedule. “Director General Robbie Morris commented, “We’ll regroup, re-engage our volunteers, and be ready for October 2021 and the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival. With support from sponsors, patrons and the community, the festival will be back and leave its mark on Randolph County and the state of West Virginia.”

The 84th Mountain State Forest Festival is scheduled for October 2 -10, 2021.

Forest Festival Modifying the 2020 Celebration due to COVID-19

After careful consideration and consultation from health officials with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors has announced the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival scheduled for September 26 – October 4, 2020 is being modified to ensure a safe celebration.

With the uncertainty about the return of large gatherings this fall, necessary changes to the annual fall extravaganza include the elimination of the festival’s royal court members and all related events including the coronation, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Queen’s Ball, opening and closing ceremonies, and school tours. A modified schedule of events is being planned and will adjust as official guidelines unfold related to the Coronavirus. Board President Cliff Marstiller said these are unprecedented times and the logistics of planning a 10-day festival to include a royal court denies the organization an opportunity to “wait and see” what happens in another month or two. “Even though the festival is not until late September, the advanced planning of costuming and related court events has necessitated that decision to be made sooner rather than later. Eliminating the royal court will make the festival look different this year, but will allow us to look forward to the possibility of some kind of fall celebration.”

Marstiller further stated, “Our decision was not made lightly as the Board navigates the impact of COVID-19 on this year’s Forest Festival. Along with the royal court adjustments, we will continue with a reimagined 2020 Festival with the first priority being the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers, staff, and attendees. We will continue to confer with health officials and follow guidelines so we may produce a scaled-down quality festival for everyone. Should the future necessitate we completely cancel our celebration, we’ll announce that further down the road. For now, a modified Forest Festival will happen this fall.”

While a 2020 Festival is being planned, the celebration and coronation of Queen Silvia LXXXIV of the 84th Mountain State Forest is postponed until 2021. “We can’t have the 84th Maid Silvia be crowned Queen at the 85th Mountain State Forest Festival,” commented Director General Robbie Morris. “The time, resources and effort that goes into coordinating the royal court is tremendous and begins in the first quarter of the year. Because of COVID-19, we are falling
months behind in those activities. Additionally, we couldn’t 100% guarantee that a festival could occur once the costuming and court members were selected. That uncertainty forced the decision to remove the royal court.”

Festival organizers are well aware they will be planning for events that will occur under the lens of COVID-19. Morris added, “With the decision to move forward with the planning of a festival for this fall, it is more than likely the case that we will still be social distancing, wearing masks and limiting the number of people allowed at a venue. Our Assistant Directors and Board of Directors will consult with state officials and local health experts to alter and modify events plus take every precaution to assure the safety of all involved. We are excited for the lights, sights and sounds of the Forest Festival – I think we all need it more than ever.”

The line-up of events, happenings and dates of the 2020 Festival will be announced no later than Labor Day. The celebration will include a tribute to the 100th year anniversary of the Monongahela National Forest. The 84th Mountain State Forest Festival is scheduled for October 2 – 10, 2021.

Robert “Robbie” Morris, Jr. will serve as the Director General for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival

Robert “Robbie” Morris, Jr. will serve as the Director General for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival, which will take place between September 26th and October 4th. This will be his sixth year with the festival.

Continue reading “Robert “Robbie” Morris, Jr. will serve as the Director General for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival”

The Mountain State Forest Festival Association announces Cliff Marstiller has been elected President of its Board of Directors

Marstiller was born and raised in Elkins and is a graduate of Elkins High School and Davis and Elkins College. In 1985 he began his career in financial services and in 1991 co-founded Innovative Investments, Inc. He earned his Certified Financial Planner designation in 1994.

Continue reading “The Mountain State Forest Festival Association announces Cliff Marstiller has been elected President of its Board of Directors”