MSFF Royal Minor Court Announced


ELKINS – The Royal Court of Maid Silvia LXXXIV has been selected and announced by Mountain State Forest Festival Director General Robbie Morris and Queen’s Department Director Tracy Gooden.

Representing the 84th Royal Court will be Crown Bearer Max Ryan Jones, Scepter Bearer Eleanor Faye Davis, Flower Girls Avery Grace Fox, Baelynn Lee Irons, Addison Grace Smyton, Kendall Brooke Ward and Train Bearers Nicholas Joseph “NJ” Patella and Cooper Preston Warner.

Max Ryan Jones is the son of Grant and Lydia Jones of Elkins. He is the grandson of Norman and Linda Wagner of Elkins and Neil and Linda Jones of Morgantown.

Max will be in the first grade at Midland Elementary this fall. He enjoys camping, going to the beach and playing with his trains and legos.

Eleanor Faye Davis is the daughter of Chris and Samantha Davis of Elkins. She is the granddaughter of Joh and Karen Tallman and Jim and Terri David, all of Elkins. Eleanor has one sister, Evalynn.

Baelynn Irons

In the fall, she will be a Kindergarten student at Jennings Randolph Elementary. She dances with West Virginia Highland Dance and studies ballet and gymnastics at Dance by Farrah. Her hobbies include painting, riding her 4-wheeler, and spending time swimming and playing outside with her sister, Evalynn.

Avery Grace Fox is the daughter of Doug and Calli Fox of Beverly. She is the granddaughter of Stephen and Vickie Posey of Buckhannon and Steve and Debbie Fox of Mill Creek. She has one brother, Jackson.

In the fall, she will be a third-grade student at Beverly Elementary. She is a PAX Leader and is a member of the running club at her school. She participates on the competitive teams at both Center Stage and Tumble Time Gymnastics. She enjoys math and science as well as playing soccer, running 5-k races, singing and playing with her little brother in her free time.

Baelynn Irons is the daughter of Justin and Lori Irons of Elkins. She is the granddaughter of Rick and Linda Irons of Elkins and Grant and Joellen Trent of West Union. She has two sisters, Lilly and Aleah.

Baylynn is a home school student and will be entering third grade this fall. She is a member of Cornerstone Church, swims for the Elkins Otters, and is a member of the YMCA Rays Swim Team. She takes piano lessons and enjoys playing music at her church. In her free, she loves to play outside, go kayaking and camping with her family.


Addison Grace Smyton is the daughter of Roger and Wendy Smyton of Elkins. She is the granddaughter of AnnaRuth Wetzel and Robert Cottrell and Forest G. “Junior” and Alicia Wetzel, all of Elkins, and the late John and Melba Smyton of Dryfork. She has one brother, Garrett.

This fall Addison will be entering third grade at North Elementary. She attends Dance by Farrah where she is on the competition dance team and she attends Mountain Gymnastics Academy where she is on the gymnastics competition team. She is a cheerleader for Bengals Youth Football as well as North Elementary and plays softball for the Randolph County Youth Softball League Hericanes. She is a member of Meadow Grove Green Growers 4-H Club. In her free time, she loves to color, paint, draw and spend time with her family. She attends First Baptist Church.

Kendall Brooke Ward is the daughter of Krista Ward of Elkins and Richard Ward of Buckhannon. She is the granddaughter of Ronald and Brenda Cunningham of Elkins and great granddaughter of Alma and the late Ronald Whitehair Sr. of Davis and the great granddaughter of John and Carolyn Cunningham of Whitmer. She has one brother, Kolton.

Kendall will be entering fourth grade this fall at Midland Elementary. She is on the honor roll and has perfect attendance. She attends Dance by Farrah where she competes with the Mini Hip Hop Team. She is a member of Elkins Otters Swim Team, has played basketball for the YMCA Might Mites League, plays soccer with Seneca Soccer, and is a cheerleader for Midland Elementary. She is a Brownie with Girl Scout Troop51432, attends First United Methodists Church and is a member of Pioneer Club. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding at Saddles and Smiles, reading, drawing, writing and spending time with her family and friends.

Nicholas Joseph “NJ” Patella is the son of Nick and Ann Marie Patella of Kerens. He is the grandson of Chris and Diana Patella of Elkins and Larry and Linda Lamb of Fairmont, NC. He has one brother, Noah, and on sister, Neva.


NJ will be in third grade this fall at North Elementary. He plays baseball at Elkins Little League and attends First United Methodist Church. He loves to play all sports and especially enjoys recess at school. In his spare time, he likes to garden and do projects with his Papa, and he likes to read and enjoys history. He is an excellent big brother to his siblings and loves animals.

Cooper Preston Warner is the son of William and Moriah Warner of Elkins. He is the grandson of Terry and Roxanna Cooper of Elkins, Dana “Ray” White of Beverly and Henry and Shirley Williams of Buckhannon.

This fall Cooper will be a fifth-grade student at Midland Elementary where he is an “A” honor roll student. He plays baseball at Elkins Little League and is a member of Ski Hi 4-H Club. In his spare time, he enjoys riding 4-wheelers, fishing, hunting, watching sports, listening to music, reading, playing video games and spending time with his family and friends. Cooper attends Elkins Family Worship Center.

Please join the Royal Court of Maid Silvia LXXXIV as they descend down Coronation Hill on the campus of Davis & Elkins College on Friday, Oct 7. For more information about the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival, please visit the website,


Shaffer named Mountain State Forest Festival Board of Directors President

Shaffer named Mountain State Forest Festival Board of Directors president | News, Sports, Jobs – The Intermountain

Elkins – The Mountain State Forest Festival Association has announced Ben Shaffer has been elected president of its Board of Directors.

Shaffer was born and raised in Elkins and is a graduate of Elkins High School. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University and is a professional engineer in West Virginia.

He holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. He completed 20 years of service with the West Virginia Division of Highways and recently began a career with the USDA Forest Service.

He was first appointed as an Assistant Director of the Mountain State Forest Festival in 2009 and served in that capacity through 2013. After serving as Director General in 2014, Shaffer returned as Assistant Director in 2015. Elected to the MSFF Board of Directors in 2015, he served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Board in 2021 and has been a member of the Executive Committee.

Shaffer serves on the Board of Trustees of the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library, is the assistant girls’ basketball coach at Elkins High School, a member of Elkins Kiwanis, and a mentor with Randolph County CLIMB.

He is married to Lisa Shaffer, who served as an assistant to the Queen’s Department of the MSFF from 2015 through 2018 and serves in the same role this year.

Other elected members of the Mountain State Forest Festival Board of Directors include Scott Harris, Bill Hartman, Hugh Hitchcock, Lydia Jones, Mike Karlen, Ray LaMora, Cricket Leary, Kathy Leombruno, Cliff Marstiller, Robin Miler, Frank Santmyer, Chad Shoemaker, Bob Wamsley and Bob Woolwine.

“It is a privilege to serve as the president of the Board of Directors of the Mountain State Forest Festival as we plan for a full slate of events after a two-year hiatus,” Shaffer said. “I look forward to working with Robbie Morris as the Director General of the 84th Mountain State Forest Festival and the excellent team of Assistant Directors he has assembled.”

“As a unified team, Board and Assistants, we appreciate the opportunity for the return of our beloved festival.”

The state’s largest and oldest festival is scheduled for Oct. 1 through Oct. 9.



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.