The first few days of the 76th Mountain State Forest Festival will start with a bang.
Fireworks, Pardi Gras, a children's parade, gospel talent show and an outdoor downtown concert are scheduled to fill the upcoming days and nights.
"We're excited to have all the entertainment outside," said Mike Karlen, the 2012 director general of the festival.
"I really want to emphasize the love of the festival from the eyes of a child," Karlen added.
He said there are events for all ages and interests during the Forest Festival.
Sunday events are set to kick off at noon with the 10k run/walk that will start at the corner of 5th Street and Davis Avenue. At 1 p.m., the horseshoe doubles tournament will take place in Elkins City
The children's parade is set to start at 1:45 p.m. on the corner of Railroad and South Davis avenues.
Following the parade, Pardi Gras will begin at 3:30 p.m. and last until 5 p.m. This event will highlight the festival's theme of "Magic in the Mountains," as magicians and balloon-animal artists will be out and about, along with vendors and other forms of family entertainment.
A performance by American Mountain Theater is set to immediately follow Pardi Gras. The theater's mix of pop, country and gospel music will start at 7 p.m. on the downtown Elkins stage.
"Kenny Sexton and his crew always do a great job," Karlen said. "Fireworks will be the climax to that evening."
The fireworks are scheduled to start at 8:45 p.m. and can be seen from Elkins town square.
Monday events start early. From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. the Randolph County senior bazaar will take place at the Randolph County Senior Center on 5th Street.
At 7 p.m. that evening, Elkins High School gym will be host to the pet show, which is a popular event each year.
On the downtown stage, the gospel talent show also will begin at 7 p.m. It will kick off a series of talent shows that take place Monday through Thursday, all beginning at 7 p.m. on the stage in town square.
The rest of the week will be packed with plenty of fun activities as well, and Karlen was optimisic about the weather for the 76th Mountain State Forest Festival.
"The weather will cooperate this year," he said.
Additional coverage and multiple photos of Forest Festival events will be published each day in The Inter-Mountain. The festival kicks off today and continues through Oct. 7.
More information is available online at www.forestfestival.com.
Contact Casey Houser by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.