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.