As Mountain State Forest Festival royalty rounded up their tour of Randolph County Wednesday, one thing was certain - there was no shortage of hugs for Maid Silvia.
Elementary school children at Homestead School showered Maid Silvia LXXVI Emily McKibbin Everson with admiration and affection, clamoring for hugs from the one and only Forest Festival Queen.
Everson, who was at one point completely surrounded by the hoards of tiny hands stretching toward her, was happy to oblige. She was even more pleased to deliver a Mountaineer-themed book, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by Christopher Canyon, to the school's library, in addition to bookmarks for all the children.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Carnival goers, above, enjoy midway rides Wednesday at the Mountain State Forest Festival.
"Do you like to read?" Everson asked the students.
"Yessssss!" they replied.
In exchange, students at both Homestead and Beverly Elementary School - whose library also received a copy of the book - greeted Everson, her maids of honor Megan Leigh Nida and Emily Jane Thompson, and the rest of the royal court with renditions of "This Land is Your Land."
Student representatives from Homestead, Tatum Wamsley and Cole Arbogast, presented Everson with a basket of goodies and mountaineer crafts - as did student representative Richard Shryock from Beverly Elementary School.
Everson, her maids and minor court had lunch at George Ward School - and also made stops at Graceland, Huntington Bank, Mountain Valley Bank, Stockman's Bank, the Randolph County Courthouse, Valley Head School, Tygarts Valley High School and Harman School.
Primitive camp opens
Meanwhile, festival visitors had a chance to stop by the Primitive Campground Exhibit and peek at campers of the past. The exhibit will remain open until 6 p.m. Saturday.
An Appalachian mountain man for the last 58 years, Jim Peck is one of those campers who is living out the week on the front campus of Davis & Elkins College.
"It's a way of life," he said. "Everything here is supposed to be pre-1840."
"I've camped with all these people," Peck said of other campers on the front campus. "This camp, most of the people are local."
He reminisced about growing up and living life in the woods, hunting and trapping. All his stories were told in a smooth timbre, complete with rhyme.
However, Peck proclaimed his soul to be untamed.
"I'm wild as any bear I ever took," he said.
Several generations were represented at this year's Forest Festival photography contest.
The display was open to the public at the Elkins YMCA on Wednesday evening.
In total, five adult categories and one youth category were judged. Ribbons hung in the gallery next to each winner.
The Best in Show Adult winner was Davin Vance with "Center of Sun Flower."
The Best in Show Youth ribbon went to Sadie McCartney with "Bee."
The Youth first place winner was Kaylynne Goins with "Water Drops"; second and third place were captured by Justin Vance with "Nature 1 of 2" and "Nature 2 of 2," respectively; and Sadie McCartney won honorable mention, with "Nature 3 of 4."
In the People category, first place went to Bob Bowes with "Ironman"; Sava Marks took second place with "People 1 of 1"; and Lois Hennis came in third with "Adaline and Quackers."
In Places, first was Bob Bowes with "Corn Dogs, Forest Festival"; second was Travis Brown, for his untitled piece; David Lester came in third with "Places 1 of 1"; and the honorable mention went to Jerry Pastine with "Gate House."
In Nature, Debbie Shreve came in first with "Nectar-een"; Steve Brown came in second for his untitled work; Wayne Sheets was third, with "Tunnel of Autumn"; and the honorable mention piece was Christi Phillips' "Sunbathing."
In Animals, Jerry Pastine was first with "The Real Kermit"; Marge Marino came in second with an untitled work; third place went to Elizabeth Pastine with "Hummer"; and Debbie Shreve took honorable mention with "Whoo!"
In Black and White, first place went to Linda Treadway, with "Morning in a Spider's World"; Christi Phillips came in second, with "Natural Beauty"; Steve Brown was third with an untitled work; and the two honorable mentions were Christi Phillips with "Brooklyn Bridge" and Debbie Shreve with "Follow Your Dreams."
The Queen's Choice award was given to Cassie Wallace, for "It's Forest Festival Time."
The Maid of Honor Choice awards went to Jerry Pastine, for "Take Me Home," and Debbie Shreve, for "Morrison the Cat."
8 to 10 a.m. - Log Inspection (Newlons International, Rt. 219 & 250 South)
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Kids Day (Elkins City Park, VFW, D&E College)
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Randolph County Senior Bazaar (Senior Center, Downtown 5th Street)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - City Park events:
Division BMX Stunt Show
Mark Lippard: Juggler, Fire Eater and Unicyclist Extraordinaire
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge "Conservation Village"
Barnyard Petting Zoo
Chainsaw Carver - Andy Kerns
Shingle Cutting/Branding - Wood Mizer/Jerry Allen
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. - Forestry and Wood Products Exhibit (Elkins VFW, Corner of Randolph Avenue)
Primitive Campground Exhibit
W.Va. Christmas Tree Growers Association Exhibit (Elkins VFW, Corner of Randolph Avenue)
9 a.m. to 8 p.m. - Log Cabin Quilters (Elkins YMCA, Davis Avenue)
Randolph County Community Arts Center/Seneca Trail Artist Guild Juried Art Show (Community Arts Center, Randolph Avenue)
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Log-A-Load Auction (Newlons International, Rt. 219 & 250 South)
Noon to 7 p.m. - GFWC Woman's Club of Elkins Arts and Craft Show (Memorial Gymnasium, D&E College)
Noon to 8 p.m. - Information Booth (Corner of Davis Avenue and Third Street)
Mountain State Forest Festival Store (Davis Avenue, next to Armadillo Flats)
Noon to 9 p.m. - Mountain Weavers Guild (Elkins/Randolph County Library, Davis Avenue)
4 to 8 p.m - Crafts & More (First United Methodist Church, Kerens Avenue)
Photography Exhibit /Contest (Elkins YMCA)
6:30 p.m. - Distinguished Guest Dinner (McDonnell Center, Davis & Elkins College)
7 p.m. - Talent Show Finalists (Downtown Stage, Elkins Town Square)
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