Festival events kick off

ELKINS — For the first time ever, the Mountain State Forest Festival is inviting festival goers to come out today to enjoy a traditional Highland Dance competition at the outdoor amphitheater at Davis & Elkins College.

“We are excited for the community to get to see how a Highland dance competition works and we want to thank the Forest Festival for including a competition this year,” event organizer Katy Dillon said. “We hope to continue to grow Highland dancing in the Elkins area.”

Dillon explained dancers will compete in the Highland Fling, Sword Dance and other traditional Highland dances — all of which are performed the same way all over the world.

“The audience will see different steps being performed because the dancers can choose from a set of steps for each dance,” Dillon said. “Dancers, along with their teachers, choose the steps they feel they can execute the best for the judge.”

The dancers will be judged based on their technique, timing, elevation and general deportment as they strive to perform each dance as perfectly as possible, according to Dillon.

Dancers from around West Virginia and other surrounding states will be taking part in today’s event. Dillon said, as of Friday morning, more than 50 participants had registered to take part in the competition.

The morning portion of the competition is scheduled to being at 10 a.m. with registration starting at 9:30 a.m. The morning session will include primary (under age 7), beginner and novice categories. Advanced level competitors — intermediate and premier — will perform in the afternoon starting at 1 p.m. with registration at 12:30 p.m.

“All dancers compete to the same tunes played by a dance piper,” Dillon said. “We have hired dance piper Liz Cherry from Pittsburgh to play for this competition.”

Wendy Lint, of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, will be judging the festival’s competition.

“My dancers travel the country to compete,” Dillon said. “We’ve always thought it would be nice to hold a competition in our hometown, especially since our group has grown so much over the years, so we are thrilled that the Forest Festival is hosting this event!”

A list of MSFF events this weekend include:

• Today:

9 a.m. – Horseshoe singles competition – Elkins City Park

10 a.m. — Tennis tournament – Katherine S. Thomas Tennis Center of Davis and Elkins College

11 a.m. — Official opening ceremony – Federal Building Plaza

Noon — Strongest Man in the Forest Competition – Wimer Field

1:30 p.m. Irish Road Bowling – Georgetown Road course

3 p.m. —“Heat in the Street Chili Cook-off” – Davis Ave.

7:30 p.m. — The Magic of Autumn featuring illusionist Joshua Jordan – D&E Harper-McNeely Auditorium

• Sunday:

Noon — 10 Run/Walk – Fifth Street and Davis Ave.

Noon — 5 p.m. – Information booth open – Corner of Davis Ave. and Third Street

1 p.m. — Horseshoe doubles contest – Elkins City Park

1:45 p.m. — Parade of Children line up – Corner of 12th Street and South Davis Ave.

2:30 p.m. — Parade of Children step off – downtown

3-6 p.m. — Children’s Festival – Davis Ave.

7 p.m. — 52nd Street, The Music of Billy Joel and Captain Fantastic, the Magic of Elton John Concert – Elkins Town Square

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