Woodly the Elf

During the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival, Woodly the Elf will be painting the town once again, sporting her woodland costume.

The outfit, designed by Connie Linger, was revealed Wednesday at Graceland Mansion on the Davis & Elkins College campus. Linger said Woodly’s garb features many colors and textures, just like autumn itself.

This year, Elkins Middle School sixth-grade student Alexis Ayers will serve as Woodly.

“Woodly’s classic tunic is forest green leaf flannel with puffed sleeves and a ruched waistline, creating a peplum with side slits from the waist down,” Linger said. “The slits reveal a contrast fabric peeking out from underneath.”

Linger said the costume features symbolize the excitement of fall.

“The neckline of the tunic sports falling leaves, and the collar is embellished with a wide array of embroidered and appliqued leaves falling of the outer edge,” Linger said. “Woodly’s tunic is worn over bark-brown crinkled knit tights, tucked into ruched leggings of brown faux suede. Woodly also has the classic toe-curled boots.”

Linger said Woodly’s hat is a version adapted from an example in Miss Connie’s vintage hat collection.

“It is the standard pointed hat featuring a ruched side that pulls it down a bit and allows a few leaves to be dangled from the tip,” Linger said.

A surprise costume change on one of Woodly’s costume parts is slated for Coronation Day, and will elevate Woodly’s look for that special occasion.

The costume was sewed by Lola Collier.

Woodly, the figure of an elf painting an oak leaf in the brilliant colors of fall, originally was sketched by Arnold Schulz of the U.S. Forest Service in 1957. It was adopted as the official logo of the Mountain State Forest Festival. Woodly has served as the symbol of the festival for more than 40 years.

Alexis said she loves the costume and can’t wait for the festival to begin.

“I am excited to be Woodly for this year’s festival,” she said. “I am most looking forward to walking down Coronation Hill.”

Alexis’ poster was selected from a field of more than 30 entries in the Woodly poster contest this year. Her poster depicts Woodly on a red and yellow tie-dyed background, imagining all the fun she will have visiting the schools, at the pet show, at the carnival and Festival City, in the Grand Feature Parade, at the log chopping contest and at the coronation.

Alexis is the daughter of Kyle and Heather Ayers, and the granddaughter of Kenny and Karen Ayers.

Woodly is part of the minor court, and is included in many events throughout the festival. In addition to coronation, Woodly participates in the Parade of Children and Grand Feature Parade. The Buckwheat Festival, the Wood Chopping Festival, the Coalton Days Parade and the Strawberry Festival also are graced by Woodly’s presence each year.