Festival highlights state’s natural beauty

As a West Virginian, I’ve always appreciated our state’s beauty, especially the mountains and the picturesque scenery they provide. We are known for our state forests and the many tourism sites, such as Dolly Sods, Coopers Rock and Smoke Hole Caverns.

They are pretty exciting, but nothing is as amazing as fall in West Virginia. It is similar to when an artist paints a canvas. With a broad brushstroke, God, the Master Artist, colors our West Virginia hills, and they stand out. Some people describe them as majestic, and they definitely are beautiful.

Those are words I also would use to describe my first Mountain State Forest Festival experience and watching the coronation of Queen Silvia LXXVII Ashley Elizabeth Houchin on Friday.

I’ve spent the past few days interning at The Inter-Mountain. Originally from Parkersburg in Wood County, I’ve had opportunities to visit Elkins because my sister, Heather Goodwin Henline, is publisher of the paper. This week, I have been able to job shadow Executive Editor Matthew Burdette and his staff as part of a project that is required for my high school curriculum.

I am very interested in pursuing a career in photography. While here, I’ve been able to take photos at the Distinguished Guest Dinner on the campus of Davis & Elkins College and at the coronation, among other places. One photo I took during the ceremony was of the sky and the clouds above the gathered crowds.

It was almost as though the heavens opened up and were shining down on the festival. I know it was supposed to rain Friday, but many prayers were answered, and sunshine lit up the sky like a spotlight for a stage.

It was nice seeing all the princesses’ beautiful dresses and the different colors. With the backdrop of the trees around us and the excited masses of people dotting the landscape, it is a favorite memory of fall that I will carry with me for years to come.