Coronation ceremony takes place under beautiful autumn sky
ELKINS — Queen Silvia LXXXIII of the 83rd Mountain State Forest Festival was crowned on a beautiful autumn afternoon in Elkins Friday.
Kaitlin Marie Smith, of Bridgeport, received her royal crown from Davis & Elkins College President Chris Wood on the Outdoor Amphitheater of Davis & Elkins College.
“The first three days of November 1930 saw the first Mountain State Forest Festival,” Wood 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.”
Royal trumpeteers Natalia Darlene Stewart, Alexis Nicole Shiflett, Austin McGraw Elliott and Thomas Albert Nixon provided fanfare for the queen and her court.
Following the royal trumpeteers down Coronation Hill was the 2019 Woodly the Elf, Kendal Nicole Ray, who brings color to the forest.
Representing the many colors of the forest in their gowns were 40 royal princesses from across the Mountain State.
Princesses included Caitlyn Faith Swecker, Kaitlin Brooke Swick, Lauren Gabrielle Manchin, Alyssa Marie Fletcher, Kacey Myra Shiflett, Kaeli Marisa Ricottilli, Krystina Malyn Gore, Danielle Angelene Haynes, Sarah Elizabeth Wilmoth, Summer Elissa Turner, Cierra Hope Coberly, Sydney Danielle Ransbottom, Makayla Jordan Amos, Gabrielle Maren Reynolds, Sydnie Taylor Tate, Kaitlyn Rene Fowler, Collette Diane Knotts, Sydney Rae Wright, Emma Mary Chua, Katherine Jane Little, Courtney Noel Christopher, Elise Barbara Sizick, Reagan Renae Sharp, Kadie Michele Phillips, Morgan Marie Sands, Taylor Leigh Pingley, Katlyn Lee Sparks, Allyson Lynn Green, Hannah Thompson Floyd, Riley Shae Evans, Avery Elizabeth Shaffer, Caitlin Tylr Weese, Ashley Rose Cox, Jessica Nicole Stevens, Alexa JaNaye Cunningham, Addison Grace Huffman, Anna Marie Huyett, Grace Lynn Wotring, Alexis R. Schmidl and Audra Rachelle Knotts.
Following the princesses’ descent of Coronation Hill were flower girls Talia Michael Nucilli, Alexis Rosana DeVall, Cora Grace Herron and Gwynneth Allison Walters.
Smith was also accompanied by her two Maids of Honor, Christine Paige Zurbuch and Susan Elizabeth Riggleman, both of Elkins.
Maid of Honor Zurbuch is the daughter of Peter and Jeanine Zurbuch of Elkins. Maid of Honor Riggleman is the daughter of Phil and Jennifer Riggleman of Beverly.
Crown Bearer Emma Rae Morgan assisted Wood in presenting Smith with her crown. Scepter Bearer Callie James Casto accompanied Delegate William “Bill” Hartman, who presented Queen Silvia with this symbol of power.
Train Bearers Jackson Allen Friddle and Troy Justin Jackson served Queen Silvia LXXXIII by holding the flowing train of her majestic gown as she descended Coronation Hill.
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.
Entertaining guests of the Mountain State Forest Festival during the coronation were the royal jesters. Every year, festival goers watch in awe as the acrobats tumble down Coronation Hill with great enthusiasm. This festival’s entertainers included Kendall Corley, Hazel Jackson, Madison Bender and Layla Fletcher.
Also present for coronation as the “Court Noblemen” were West Virginia Division of Forestry Director Barry Cook, State Senator Bill Hamilton, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt, Delegate Cody Thompson, West Virginia Commissioner of Culture and History Randall Reid-Smith, Hartman and Wood.
Cadet Wing escorts from West Virginia University Air Force ROTC Detachment 915 escorted Queen Silvia, the Maids of Honor and princesses.
Smith is the daughter of Paul and Donna Smith of Bridgeport. She is the granddaughter of Emilio “Shorty” and Carolyn Gola of Elkins, the late Gene Smith, Grace “Kitty” Smith and Denny Alt of Alpena. She has one brother, Logan.
Maid Silvia is a 2018 graduate of Bridgeport High School. In the fall, she will be a sophomore at Fairmont State University where she is pursuing a degree in business management. At Fairmont State University, she is on the Dean’s List, a member of the MEC Athletic All Academic Team and is on the women’s soccer team.