The streets of Elkins have been crowded this week as people streamed into town to enjoy the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival.
Local residents have been heard to comment in recent days that the town got crowded very early this week, theorizing that this may be one of the best-attended Forest Festivals on record.
There's no way of proving or disproving that theory at this point, as the most crowded day of Festival week - Saturday, with the beloved Grand Feature Parade - is yet to come.
However, it's clear that the variety of quality entertainment - much of it free - available downtown, and the unseasonably warm, sunny weather, are bringing people out in droves this year.
Which is good for the Festival, and good for Elkins. The population of this small town swells to many times its regular number this one week out of the year, and that is a plus for the Elkins economy, and the town's reputation among tourists.
Elkins natives can remember what the Forest Festival meant to them as children - how exciting and yet comfortable it was, year after year through our childhoods. It's a feeling that's hard to come by as adults, but we may feel it again when we attend a favorite MSFF?event, or see how much happiness the Forest Festival is bringing to others.
And, best of all, we can feel it when we see the Forest Festival through our children's eyes. Once again, it is a magical time.
We encourage all local residents to get out and experience some of that Festival fun and magic for themselves. It only comes once a year, so let's make the most of it.