Festival names Queen’s Department

ELKINS?- Mountain State Forest Festival Director General Ben Shaffer announces the Queen’s Department for the 78th edition of the popular event.

Coordinating this year’s royal court will be Queen’s Department Director Debby Berdine and Queen’s Department assistants Michelle Harris and Peggy Phillips.

This year marks Berdine’s first year as Queen’s Department director, having previously served on various committees including Minor Court, Queen’s Reception and Princess Orientation. She will be the leader in the planning, coordinating and delivering of all activities for the Royal Court of the 78th annual event.

Berdine is employed at the DHHR as a health and human resource specialist, senior. She also is involved in wildland fire fighting and has fought major fires in Utah, California, Arizona and Idaho with the U.S. Forest Service.

A member of the First United Methodist Church, Berdine and her husband, Ashton, are the parents of two daughters, Addison and Eleanore. She served as princess in the 1988 Forest Festival and her oldest daughter, Addie, served as flower girl in the 2013 festival.

Harris will be serving her first year as Queen’s Department assistant. She is employed with Mountain Hospice Inc. as a CNA. She and her husband, Benny, are the parents of four children: Tyler, Kaitlyn, Brandon and Olivia.

Harris served as a Royal Trumpeteer in the 1988 and 1989 festivals, and a Princess in 1993.

Her daughter, Olivia, served as flower girl in the 2013 festival.

Phillips also is serving as a first-year Queen’s Department assistant while previously serving on the Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen’s Ball committees, Band Field Show committee, and Minor Court committee in past years.

Phillips is employed at the U.S. Department of Justice as a management and program analyst. She and her husband, William M. “Junior” Phillips have two children, Hannah and Michael.

A member of the Phillips Chapel United Methodist Church, Phillips’ daughter, Hannah, served as flower girl in the 2013 Forest Festival.

The 78th Mountain State Forest Festival will be celebrated Sept. 27 to Oct. 5. For more information, go online at or call 304-636-1824.