Another Mountain State Forest Festival has come and gone, after a week packed full of "Magic in the Mountains."
On Saturday, light rain gave way to beautiful, sunny skies as the Forest Festival featured activities galore, with everything from crafts and vendors, carnival rides and food, to parades, concerts and special performances.
One of Saturday's highlights was when antique cars lined the streets and made their way down Davis Avenue and up Randolph Avenue. The antique cars parade helped kick off the 76th Mountain State Forest Festival Grand Feature Parade, when the streets came alive with clowns,, bands, politicians, floats and special units. More than 20 bands played everyone's favorite tunes as they marched their way to the end of the route.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Casey Houser
From left, Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys peform Saturday evening at Harper McNeeley Auditorium on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. The performance was part of the 76th Mountain State Forest Festival. See additional Forest Festival photos on Page B10.
For the past seven years, member of the First United Methodist Church have greeted the band members as they finish the route. Members of the church give marchers water and cookies. This year, they passed out approximately 4,000 cookies and 1,800 bottles of water.
Even after the parade, Davis Avenue was a hub of activity with the Tri-Force Jump Rope team and Division BMX performers taking to the street with shows..
Tri-Force Jump Rope wowed the crowed with a high-energy performance as youngsters displayed a range of impressive stunts with jump ropes.
Meanwhile, Queen Silvia LXXVI Emily McKibbin Everson took in Division BMX's final performance of the festival Saturday. The riders took Everson to the top of one of their ramps and the team members all performed jumps over her head. The final rider to leap over did so in style by doing a backflip on his bike. As Everson came off the ramp, she said it was one of the scariest things she has ever done.
Later Saturday, folks gathered at Wimer Stadium for the Mountain State Forest Festival Spectacle of Bands Field Competition.
This year, 14 bands competed in seven divisions. Elkins High School Band and "Red Storm," a combination of Harman School and Tygarts Valley High School bands, each performed as exhibition bands.
A different style of music entertained the crowd Saturday night at the Harper-McNeely Auditorium at Davis & Elkins College, when members of the Oak Ridge Boys headlined the Forest Festival's Country Music Show. The band features four-part harmonies and upbeat songs, which have spawned dozens of country hits and earned numerous awards.
On Sunday morning, hungry festival goers made their way to the Izaak Walton League in Beverly for a buckwheat pancake feed, including pancakes, sausage and coffee.
Sunday afternoon, the closing ceremony for the 76th Mountain State Forest Festival got under way at the Jennings Randolph Federal Plaza.
Mark Tomblyn, president of the Mountain State Forest Festival board of directors, congratulated and thanked everyone for making the festival great and for all their hard work.
"I think the head magician in the state of West Virginia this week was Mike Karlen," Tomblyn said, referring to this year's director general.
Mountain State Forest Festival assistant directors presented Karlen with a "Magic In The Mountains" banner, reflecting this year's theme.
Members of the minor court signed one another's programs, and there were many hugs, kisses and tears.
Elkins resident Jennifer Morgan presented Everson with the queen's quilt, made especially for this year's Queen Silvia.
"Folks went into the Elkins Sewing Center to get kits and they could either applique or hand piece a block for the quilt," Morgan said. "The blocks are then put together to make the quilt."
Joy Cutright and Nancy Thompson presented Everson with a scrapbook filled with pictures from the week.
The final step in the closing ceremony was the placing of the stone. Karlen and Everson place her stone in the Jennings Randolph Federal Plaza garden with stones from other past queens.