Downtown windows featuring Forest Festival memorabilia
ELKINS — With the Mountain State Forest Festival canceled for a second-consecutive year, several local organizations are doing their part to make downtown as festive as possible in its absence.
Despite the cancellation, MSFF officials decided to carry on a long tradition of decorating many of the downtown business windows with memorabilia from festivals past.
“One of the things people look forward to during the Forest Festival is all the downtown business windows being decorated with the costumes and gowns from previous Forest Festivals,” MSFF Director General Robbie Morris told The Inter-Mountain. “Even though we weren’t able to have the festival this year, we thought doing the windows would be a nice thing to do for our local citizens and the people traveling through the area.”
Morris said the window work downtown was spearheaded by MSFF assistant director Karrah Washington, who with the help of many volunteers worked hard to make the windows reflect the traditions of past Forest Festivals.
“Karrah and a tremendous committee of volunteers really worked hard on the windows and they really look nice,” Morris said. “We’re very thankful to all the business owners who let us use their storefronts and windows to spruce up downtown for what is a beautiful season in Elkins.”
Our Town Inc. recently spearheaded a campaign to have a leaf and scarecrow contest throughout the streets of downtown Elkins. There are currently close to 80 scarecrows and 100 of the special leaves helping decorate the downtown area.
“I think they (windows) go hand-in-hand with the scarecrows and leaves that have been put up downtown,” said Morris. “It really gives downtown that autumn feel.”
If all the decorations weren’t enough for local residents to get in a Forest Festival mood, the smell that’s lingering from around the Iron Horse part of town may just be the ticket, as the Shirley’s Steak and Sausage stand has rolled into town and set up at its traditional location behind Lynn’s Service Station.
“It’s amazing the amount of phone calls we got when people saw Shirley’s pull into Elkins,” Morris said. “We had people calling and asking if the festival was still off, or if we were still having it. Unfortunately it is still canceled, but having things like Shirley’s, the windows decorated, and the other types of things we have downtown, puts you in the spirit and mindset of the festival.”
Morris is optimistic of a triumphant MSFF return in 2022.
“We are feeling confident that next year we will be able to get this thing back to normal,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I think there’s a lot of people missing it.”