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No royal court for 2021 Forest Festival

ELKINS — The Mountain State Forest Festival Association Board of Directors announced Monday it is going forward with plans for an MSFF celebration this fall — but without a royal court.

The fall celebration is scheduled for Oct. 2-10 in Elkins.

“With current restrictions on large gatherings, early year time frame of creating costuming, and the uncertainty of how experiences will have to be modified for the court in the fall, the Board had many factors to consider in making this difficult decision now,” a Monday MSFF press release stated.

MSFF Board President Cricket Leary said in the release, “It’s a hard thing to make decisions today to cancel anything for an October event, but when we’re talking about the royal court we have to consider guidelines and restrictions in place today and contemplate all possibilities.

“We established a new Community Awareness Task Force Team comprised of City and County officials, members of the Health community, Board of Education, Festival Board, and Assistant Directors,” Leary said.

“After meeting and consulting with this team, it was determined there was just too much uncertainty to have court members participate in this year’s festival. We would not want to shortchange what is always a very unique and memorable experience.”

Leary added, “While it’s certainly disappointing to not have a royal court presence in the 2021 festival, all other events at this time are being planned should restrictions be lifted by fall. There is certainly lots of hope at this time that the Mountain State Forest Festival will go on.”

In July 2020, the Mountain State Forest Festival canceled all events for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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