Royal Elegance

Queen Silvia Caroline Marie Fluke

ELKINS — The gown for Caroline Marie Fluke, Maid Silvia LXXXIV for the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival, has been completed for today’s coronation.

Miss Connie Linger, the costume designer for the Mountain State Forest Festival, described the process of creating the gown.

“After two years void of the experience of creating a coronation gown for Maid Silvia of the forest, it has been an amazing summer of renewed creative frenzy,” Linger said.

“While Maid Silvia Caroline Fluke has waited two years as well to fulfill her duties as queen, I have had the time to ponder and refine my collection of designs for her court.

The coronation will begin at 2 p.m. at the Citizens Bank of WV amphitheatre on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.

Miss Connie Linger, the costume designer for the Mountain State Forest Festival, described the process of creating the gown.

“Caroline’s bordeaux velvet gown is designed to make the most of her petite frame. The gown is a classic princess seamed style which shows off her tiny waist and continues into an A-line hem. Her front neckline is adorned by a golden brocade yoke which continues over her shoulders to become an extended back panel which flows down her back and even below her waist to flare just slightly like a peplum.

“The top of her sleeves are also capped in the gold brocade finishing in a point just above the elbows,” Linger said. “The gold brocade neckline yoke, back drape, and sleeve caps are all embellished by first couching intertwining threads that match her velvet color. Then dancing oak leaves fall into place along the threads from her shoulders and down her back. The same continues on the sleeve heads.

At her sweetheart neckline, a tiny arrangement of embroidered bordeaux velvet oak leaves are the perfect Forest Queen signature, especially as they are punctuated by the most amazing one-inch bronze Swarovski crystal! The entire lower edge of the neck yoke is encrusted by a repeat of clear, aurora borealis, and golden crystals which follow the edge of the sleeve caps as well and trail just onto the back drape.

“The gold brocade is also complimented by the addition of pale golden lurex ribbon twisted into daisy mums,” she said. “Each one is made by hand and applied with five petal shaped golden crystals. The sweetheart neckline is also edged with bronze bugle beads and features the most subdued version of a neck ruff in a burgundy chiffon. Rather than forcing it to stand up, I allowed it to fall at Caroline’s back neck and created a ‘dripping’ of crystals and beads to fall off at the back.

“The tapered velvet sleeves are finished off at the wrist by a curved gold brocade cuff and embellished by an embroidered oak leaf and acorn arrangement accented with bronze and crystal ‘berry’ accents.

“Caroline’s hemline is decorated by gold brocade tufts all around. Each one is anchored by arrangements of oak leaves and acorns. All are accented by bronze, golden and aurora borealis crystals.

“Trailing from the brocade tufts and up into the skirt are pale gold lurex ribbons made to intersect like pathways through the mountains. Each intersection is anchored by a large flower crystal with more crystals reaching up illuminating the way,” Linger said.

“Caroline’s train is attached at her waist up under the back drape. A very large gold brocade tuft echoes the ones on the hemline of the gown but is anchored by two large sage green stylized oak leaves and one maple leaf, along with more of the embroidered oak leaf and acorns. Two simple leaves in gold foiled brown are embroidered with SILVIA LXXXIV to indicate the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival.

“Just above the large oak leaves, in among the matching trail of lurex ribbon, I created an emblem featuring a 3-point Celtic knot with three shamrocks around it and a thistle bud at the base with gold threads creating the thistle’s emerging fine petals. Caroline’s heritage features both a Celtic and Cherokee background.

“The final touch near the top of the train, is a medallion I created to illustrate Director Robbie Morris’ theme ‘A Mountain Mosaic.’ I designed a mountain sunset scene using all ten colors of the princess velvets. The sun in the image is the ‘Cherokee Sun’ symbol to pay homage to Caroline’s heritage.

All the colors and fabrics were carefully chosen to fit our autumn scene and the special gold brocade I discovered was fortuitous as it went so well with all the colors. It shines with pale versions of many of our court velvets,” Linger added.

“It has been both a thrill and an honor for me to finally produce this collection. You will see how the colors and designs all work together to compliment each other.

“As usual, I could never do all the collection without the following seamstresses who put in overtime to bring it all to light! Many thanks to Sheila Scott for 40+ headpieces and detail embroidery assistant, Lola Collier for Woodly and Trainbearers costumes, Dottie Price for Crown and Scepter Bearers costumes, and Brandy Williams for Jester traveling costumes. Special thanks to The Elkins Sewing Center for all their help with supplies and velvet.”


Mountain State Forest Festival Hosts Kids Day in the Park

Youth enjoy playing inflatable games in Elkins City Park during the Mountain State Forest Festival’s Kids Day in the Park.
Children patiently wait in line touring attractions in Elkins City Park.








West Virginia Division of Natural Resources representatives were on hand during the Mountain State Forest Festival’s Kids Day at the Park Event.
The WVDNR had several stations set up to inform youth about West Virginia Wildlife. Jim Fregonara teaches kids about animal tracks.

Log-A-Load raises money for WVU Children’s Hospital

October 07, 2022

Edgar Kelley – Staff Writer

Kaufman Realty and Auctions’ Andrew Yoder auctions off a lot up for bid during the Mountain Loggers Group’s annual Log-A-Load for Kids Auction at Newlons International Sales. Proceedsw from the event went to benefit WVU Children’s Hospital.

ELKINS — The Mountain Loggers Group hosted its annual Log-A-Load for Kids Auction to benefit WVU Children’s Hospital during the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival Thursday at Newlons International Sales on the Beverly Five-Lane.

The benefit event started back in 1996 and since then has raised close to $2 million for WVU Children’s Hospital, which opened the doors on a brand-new 150-bed, $215 million facility last week.

A group of professionals from the hospital, including Dr. Larry Rhodes, Dee ‘O Palko and Samantha Godwin, attended the event. Rhodes is a pediatric cardiologist and professor of pediatrics at WVU Children’s Hospital, while O’ Palko is the director of annual giving. Godwin is associate director of development at the hospital.

“I think this is probably my 11th or 12th log auction and when you look at the sky and the temperature today, I think God is smiling on us,” Rhodes said to those assembled Thursday. “Since I’ve been coming I don’t think it’s ever rained on this auction. I think that speaks to the work that you are doing for our children. We very much appreciate all you do and I want you to know how much it means to children when they know that someone that they don’t even know cares about them — it’s just so very special.”

O’Palko told those in attendance that the new hospital has already treated 249 kids in the emergency department, had 881 clinic appointments, seen 41 babies born, performed 107 surgeries, and discharged 170 patients, all in just a seven-day time period.

“We are really at high capacity, too, and that just really means that people are coming there and we couldn’t do that without the support of generous donors like you guys,” she said. “The patients are from far and wide and we appreciate the continued support.”

Mountain State Forest Festival Maid Silvia LXXXIV Caroline Fluke and her maids of honor Hannah Lee Phillips and Sarah Diane Riggleman made a stop at the auction Thursday, along with other officials with the MSFF. Eric Carlson, executive director of the West Virginia Forestry Association, was also on hand.

Close to 100 people, both bidders and contributors, attended the auction that was conducted by auctioneer Andrew Yoder from Kaufman Realty and Auctions. Veneer logs, poplar peeler logs and saw logs were included in the more than 30 lots up for bid.

There was a plaque presentation during the event for the top four contributors at the 2021 auction. That group included: Heritage Hardwoods (largest), Columbia Forest Products (second largest), JC Lumber Company (third largest), and Allegheny Wood Products (fourth largest).

Paul Dohner was recognized with the Mountain Loggers Group President’s Service Award. Dohner, who is the owner of Heritage Hardwood in Lititz, Pennsylvania, has been a key contributor to Log-a-Load for many years. Last year when the organization came up short of its $150,000 goal, Dohner made up the difference of what was left so that the Mountain Loggers could reach their target amount raised.

Mountain Loggers Group President Danny Sines could not attend Thursday’s event but sent a written statement thanking all of those who contributed.

“It was a great year for the Mountain Loggers Group and there were a number of people that made it happen,” Sines said in his statement. “We appreciate everyone, no matter how big or small the donations were.”

Downtown Performances Entertain

The 84th Mountain State Forest Festival presented ’52nd Street: The Music of Billy Joel’ and ‘Captain Fantastic: The Magic of Elton John’ on the Citizens Bank of West Virginia Festival Stage at the Rotary Amphitheatre in the Elkins Town Square. ‘Billy’ performed ‘Piano Man’ first and later in the show ‘Elton’ appeared in a burst of smoke and lighting to rock out with ‘Pinball Wizard.’

Company giviung away 1.500 trees during MSFF

October 06, 2022

FAIRMONT — A local electric company will be giving away 1,500 trees in Elkins City Park Friday and Saturday during the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival.

The FirstEnergy electric company Mon Power will hand out Redbud, Red Maple, Red Oak and Serviceberry trees at the festival’s Conservation Village located at the Elkins City Park on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“The Mountain State Forest Festival highlights the critical role that natural resources play in West Virginia’s culture and economic development. As one of West Virginia’s largest festivals, it’s an ideal venue for our largest tree giveaway in the state this year,” said Carol Trembly, a senior scientist with FirstEnergy who leads the company’s tree planting initiative.

FirstEnergy will also provide 600 reusable tote bags for children visiting the Conservation Village during the festival’s Kids Day today.

Green Team members from Mon Power – “a group of employees who volunteer their time and talents to support a wide variety of environmental initiatives,” a FirstEnergy press release states –will be handing out the trees and tote bags.

The giveaway is part of a larger company initiative to plant 20,000 trees in 2022. Nearly 16,000 trees have already been planted at parks and nature reserves throughout FirstEnergy’s six-state service territory so far this year. Tree plantings and giveaways support FirstEnergy’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, promote the responsible use of natural resources and further the advancement of sustainable practices.

“The Mountain State Forest Festival highlights the critical role that natural resources play in West Virginia’s culture and economic development. As one of West Virginia’s largest festivals, it’s an ideal venue for our largest tree giveaway in the state this year,” said Carol Trembly, a senior scientist with FirstEnergy who leads the company’s tree planting initiative.

In addition to the tree giveaway, FirstEnergy is donating $2,000 to the Mountain State Forest Festival this year. Mon Power is also making an in-kind donation valued at $10,000 by providing crews, trucks and equipment to set up the logs for the festival’s annual Lumberjack Contest Saturday at Davis & Elkins College.

Mon Power serves about 395,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties.

Randolph County Senior Center Bazaar returns with MSFF

October 06, 2022

Edgar Kelly – Staff Writer

Bruce Wetter adjusts several items created by his wife Mari Wetter that wer for sale at the Randolph County Senior Center’s Annual Bazaar.

ELKINS — After being canceled along with the Mountain State Forest Festival the past two years, the Randolph County Senior Center’s annual Bazaar has returned this year and is off to a running start during the 84th MSFF.

“We have a lot of people visiting the Senior Center for this event,” RCSC activities director Donna Canfield said. “We’ve only been open a few days and we’ve been pretty busy with guests coming in every day. I expected to pick up even more the next couple of days, especially on Friday when everyone is downtown.”

The bazaar kicked off Monday at the Senior Center building on Fifth Street and Railroad Avenue. It will run through Friday and is open each day from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

All of the items being sold at the bazaar are made by seniors who are residents of Randolph County. Many unique homemade items are available at the event.

“There is homemade food, different types of cookies, candies and things like that,” Canfield said. “Then you have all the other items like flower arrangements, pot holders, dish towels, Christmas ornaments, handmade wooden bowls and much, much more.”

Some of the other items on sale at the bazaar include embroidered wall hangings, sweatshirts, Christmas wreaths, quilts, decorative plates, crocheted toys, blankets, scarves, hats and gloves, pillows and tabletop decor.

Randolph County Senior Center Director Laura Ward said some of the items for sale are things you just don’t see any more.

“Because there aren’t a whole lot of people out there who knit and crochet like they used to, you don’t see much of that around like you used to,” she said. “People can find a lot of that stuff to purchase at the bazaar. And the neat thing is that everything is handmade by people from Randolph County.”

Ward said she is unsure of how many years the event has been held during the Forest Festival, but believes it has been around as long as the Senior Center building itself.

“The senior center has been hosting this bazaar during the Forest Festival for many, many years,” Ward said. “It’s not an official Forest Festival event, but we do it every year at this time. So it’s part of what happens every year during the festival.”

MSFF Cornhole Tourney Winners

Bring Your Own Partner winners included Matt Hewitt and Donald Brill (First), Dennis Cottrill and Seth Cottrill (Second), Anita Carr and Gary Channell (Third) and Jaime Bender and Jeff George (Fourth).
Shown from left are Director General Robbie Morris, Ladies second place winer Heather Bonnett, Ladies first place winner Anita Carr and MSFF Maid of Honor Hannah Lee Phillips and Sarah Diane Riggleman.
Winners in the Mountain State Forest Festival Cornhole Tournament Seniors Bracket were, from left, Ed Weese (Second) and Donald Brill (First).