Queen of the Forest

Morgan Alyssa Stephens becomes Queen Silvia LXXXI

The Inter-Mountain photos by Tim MacVean Queen Silvia LXXXI Morgan Alyssa Stephens shows the Coronation ceremony crowd her dress after being crowned Friday afternoon on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.

ELKINS — Queen Silvia LXXXI of the Mountain State Forest Festival was crowned on a beautiful autumn afternoon in Elkins Friday.

Morgan Alyssa Stephens of Morgantown received her royal crown from West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt on the Outdoor Amphitheatre of Davis & Elkins College.

Stephens now joins the legacy of one of the oldest festivals in West Virginia.

“The first three days of November 1930 saw the first Mountain State Forest Festival,” Commissioner of West Virginia Culture and History Randall Reid-Smith said during the ceremony. “The name ‘Queen Silvia’ was chosen, which means deity of the forest. What a fitting name for the queen of a festival that celebrates the beauty of West Virginia’s forest and the conservation of our state’s natural resources. From that small beginning, the Mountain State Forest Festival has grown into one of the oldest and largest celebrations in our state.”

Abiel Gallagery-Reyes, Kyle Golden Murphy, Brooke Ashleigh Pritt and Juanita Kathleen Teter represented Elkins High School as the royal trumpeteers who provided fanfare for the queen and her court.

81st Mountain State Forest Festival princess Karli Renee Hopwood, right, waves to her family while princess Janine Rae Beer looks on. Their dress color is ‘royal ruby.’

Following the royal trumpeteers down Coronation Hill was the 2017 Woodly the Elf, Kaleigh Nicole Lynn Weese, who brings color to the forest.

Representing those many colors of the forest in their gowns were 40 royal princesses from across the Mountain State.

Princesses included Caitlin Eileen Murphy, Elizabeth Rebecca Nichols, Kendra Marie Amick, Madison Renee Wagner, Jontasia Dawn Sitton, Megan Laine Broschart, Hayley Elizabeth Wilburn, Haley Rae Collett, Emily Anne Caplinger, Ashley Marie Rackley, Karli Renee Hopwood, Janine Rae Beer, Tessa Marie Blizzard, Kelsey Ayne Burgess, Laura McKenzie Simmons, Madison Elizabeth Shears, Korri Leigh Evans, Bailey Renee Topping, Sarah Elizabeth Ryder, Tristen Marra Furby, Alexa Lee Greenlief, Hailea Elizabeth Harper, Peyton Elizabeth Panger, Cassidy Marie Hedrick, Kayla Alexis Stahl, Karsyn Paige White, Brooke Elizabeth Ashby, Mallory Elise Sisler, Tayler O’Bryen Lee, Natlalie Jo Thorpe, Alexis Marie Volentir, Taylor Morgan Chevalier, Sophia Ann Hummer, Abigail Jane Collett, Brooke Asalee Wotring, Emily Nicole Adams, Kaitlyn Marie Harris, Catherine Maxine Jones, Jessicah Christine Hersom and Serena Paige Wiseman.

Following the princesses’ descent of Coronation Hill were flower girls Malia Faith Cooper, Rachel Helen Himes, Madelyn Grace Lambert and Delia Mae White.

Stephens was accompanied by her two Maids of Honor, Sydney Nicole Leary and Sydney Paige Mullenax.

Woodly the Elf Kaleigh Nicole Lynn Weese admires the princesses, maids of honor and queen during Friday’s Coronation ceremony.

Crown Bearer Wyatt Holt Chenoweth assisted Leonhardt in presenting Stephens with her crown. Scepter Bearer Jacob White Benjamin Golden accompanied Delegate William “Bill” Hartman, who presented Queen Silvia with this symbol of power.

Queen Silvia was also presented with other items during her official coronation ceremony, including a mantle of authority, a jewel, a key to the city of Elkins, a sugar maple sapling and a scroll.

Train Bearers Kyle James Reed and Thomas Robert Valentine served Queen Silvia LXXXI by holding the flowing train of her majestic gown as she descended Coronation Hill.

Entertaining guests of the Mountain State Forest Festival during the coronation were the royal jesters. Every year, festivalgoers watch in awe as the acrobats tumble down Coronation Hill with great enthusiasm. This year’s entertainers were Mackenzie Childers, Ruby Jackson, Juliet Kubichek and Lexi Reger.

Also present for coronation as the “Court Noblemen” were Sen. Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, Delegate Phil Isner, D-Randolph, Davis & Elkins College President Chris Wood, Hartman, Leonhardt and Reid-Smith.

Royal Scouts Jazmyn Cherie Taylor, left, and Brianna Elaine Harper, carry a pillow for Queen Silvia LXXXI Morgan Alyssa Stephens to kneel on as she is crowned Friday during her Coronation ceremony.

Cadet Wing escorts from West Virginia University Air Force ROTC Detachment 915 escorted Queen Silvia, the Maids of Honor and princesses.

Stephens is the daughter of Mark A. Stephens and Anna Marie Hawkins of Morgantown. She is the granddaughter of John R. and Ruth Stephens of Morgantown and Martin and Ilene Biafora of Pompano Beach, Florida.

Queen Silvia LXXXI is a 2014 graduate of University High School and will be graduating from Fairmont State University in December with a degree in marketing.

The remaining schedule for the Mountain State Forest Festival includes:


8 a.m.: Lumberjack Contest, Outdoor Amphitheater of Davis & Elkins College

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The Arts Center Juried Art Exhibit, Randolph County Community Arts Center, Randolph Avenue

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Log Cabin Quilters free quilt show, Elkins/Randolph County YMCA

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Photography Exhibit/Contest, Elkins/Randolph County YMCA

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Events in Elkins City Park

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: GFWC Women’s Club of Elkins Juried Arts & Craft Show, Memorial Gymnasium/Martin Field House of Davis & Elkins College

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Mountain State Forest Festival Crafts & More, First United Methodist Church, Kerens Avenue

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Primitive Campground Exhibit, Davis & Elkins College front lawn

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Forestry and Wood Products Exhibit & WV Christmas Tree Growers Association, Elkins/Randolph County YMCA

9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Mountain Weavers Guild, Darden Mill Museum/Art Gallery, 2 1/2 Railroad Ave.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Information Booth open, corner of Davis Avenue and 3rd Street

10:30 a.m.: Miniature Horse Show presented by the West Virginia Any Mini Horse Club, Davis & Elkins College front lawn

11 a.m.: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team Exhibition, 4th Street and Davis Avenue

1 p.m.: Antique and Classic Street Rod Car Parade, 12th Street, Davis Avenue and Randolph Avenue

1:15 p.m.: Special Units and Log Truck Parade, 12th Street, Davis Avenue and Randolph Avenue

1:30 p.m.: Grand Feature Parade featuring “The Marshall University Marching Thunder” 12th Street, Davis Avenue and Randolph Avenue; immediately after parade, Pittsburgh Steeline Drumline Exhibition along Davis Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets

5 p.m.: Band Field Show featuring “The Marshall University Marching Thunder,” Wimer Field, South Davis Avenue

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Pre-Show Country Music Event featuring Michael Bonnett & Friends acoustic performance, Myles Center for the Arts/Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

7:30 p.m.: Grand Ole Opry Country Music Show featuring Ricky Skaggs: A Lifetime of Music, Myles Center for the Arts/Harper-McNeeley Auditorium


7 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Buckwheat Cake and Sausage Feed, Izaak Walton League, Mountaineer Chapter Lodge, Files Creek Road

9 a.m.: 3-D Target Shoot, Appalachian Bow Hunter Association, Kingsville Road

10 a.m.: Muzzle Loading Contest, Tygart Valley Muzzle Loading Range, Files Creek Road

2 p.m.: Official Closing Ceremony, Federal Building Plaza