Mountain State Forest Festival Director General Cricket Leary has announced the appointment of the Queen's Department director, deputy director and the assistant directors for the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival.
Coordinating this year's Forest Festival will be Queen's Department Director Lydia Jones; Deputy Director Ben Shaffer; and Assistant Directors Amanda Carter, Gary Hart, Felicia Hendon, Becky Judy, Robin Miller, Chrissy Mullenax, Jon Morgan, Rich Nida, Amy Parsons, Todd Riggleman, Chad Shoemaker and Gary Wileman.
Jones will return for her third year as the Queen's Department director, having previously served two years as an assistant on the Queen's Department. She has worked on the princess parade drop-off and invitation committees and assisted with the coronation music from 2005 to 2008. Her husband, Grant, has volunteered on Forest Festival committees in the past as well.
Mountain State Forest Festival leaders have been announced. Seated, from left, are Amy Parsons, Amanda Carter, Becky Judy and Felicia Hendon. Standing, from left, are Chad Shoemaker, Chrissy Mullenax, Rich Nida, Gary Wileman, Queen’s Department Director Lydia Jones, Director General Cricket Leary, Ben Shaffer, Gary Hart, Todd Riggleman, Robin Miller and Jon Morgan.
Jones serves on the United Way of Randolph County Board of Directors, attends First United Methodist Church and is a member of the church's Conway Ringers Bell Choir. She is an office manager for Perfection Plus Turbo-Dry LLC and served as a princess in the 2003 Forest Festival. Her brother, Cory, was a train bearer in the 1988 Forest Festival.
Shaffer has served as an assistant director for four years, assisting with the coordination of the Elkins City Park, music shows, band field show, 10k run/walk, cross country meets, geocaching, primitive campers, jousting, tennis tournaments, horseshoe tournament, Get Acquainted Party and banners. His wife, Lisa, also has experience volunteering with the festival on various committees.
Shaffer is employed as a regional program manager for the West Virginia Division of Highways and is president of MR2 Environmental Solutions Inc. He is treasurer of the Elkins Kiwanis Club and secretary for Elkins Elks Babe Ruth League. Shaffer will coordinate the cross country meets, publicity and security while working closely with Leary to assist with the nearly 100 events of the festival.
Carter will be serving in her first year as assistant director. She and her husband, Travis, have two daughters, Cadence and Kennedy. Amanda Carter served as crown bearer in the 1985 Forest Festival and princess in the 1997 Forest Festival, while Cadence served as scepter bearer in the 2011 Forest Festival.
Carter is employed with the Randolph County Board of Education as a guidance counselor at Beverly Elementary and Jennings Randolph Elementary schools. She is a member of the Otterbein United Methodist Church. She has chaired the children's parade committee and assisted on the band field show and Queen's Ball committees. Carter will coordinate the children's parade, downtown stage entertainment, talent show, opening and closing ceremonies and the chicken wing cook-off.
Hart will return for his second year as an assistant director. He and his wife, Melinda, have two children, Nicklaus and Jordan. He works in lumber procurement at Colonial Millworks Ltd.
Hart serves on the Board of Directors for Elkins Little League and is a member of the Elks BPOE Lodge 1135. He previously worked on the talent contest committee and enjoys volunteering his time to coach and officiate baseball, softball and basketball. He attends Alliance Church in Gilman. Hart will coordinate the forestry and wood products exhibit, golf tournament, horseshoe tournament and lumberjack competition.
Hendon will serve her third year as an assistant director. She and her husband, Bobby, have three children, Haylee Bennett, who served as flower girl in the 2007 Forest Festival, stepdaughter Lori Flynn and stepson Shannon Hendon.
Hendon is employed at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as an office assistant. She is an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Coalton and serves on the committee of the Miss Coalton Days Pageant. She was a princess in the 1982 Forest Festival and previously assisted with the symphony, windows, princess housing, princess orientation, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Queen's Ball, Cabaret, decorations for armory, information booth and the photography contest. Hendon will coordinate the Distinguished Guest Dinner and the Queen's Ball and the decorating of Davis & Elkins College's McDonnell Center for both events.
Judy will serve in her first year as an assistant director. She is employed as an attorney at McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner LLC. She and her husband, Vince, are members of St. Brendan Church. Judy has volunteered on festival committees in the past and has assisted in contractual review and negotiations. She will coordinate the chicken wing cook-off, band field show, Distinguished Guest Dinner and the Queen's Ball.
Miller will serve her first year as an assistant director. She is employed at Davis Memorial Hospital and is married to Michael. She has served on the children's parade committee and assisted the Queen's Department with the minor court. She is the committee chairwoman for the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Expo and volunteered for more than 10 years with HOFNOD. Miller will coordinate Pardi Gras, Kids Day at the Festival and the Grand Feature Parade.
Morgan will begin his first year as an assistant director. He is a civil engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. He and his wife, Jennifer, have one son, Grant. Jennifer was crown bearer in the 1987 Forest Festival and a Maid of Honor in the 2000 Forest Festival. Morgan is the past president of Elkins Kiwanis Club. He has worked on the lumberjack competition and band field show committees. He will be coordinating the city park events, 10-k race, geocaching and Irish road bowling.
Mullenax will serve her first year as an assistant director. She is the executive director at Colonial Place. She has one daughter, Sydney, who was a flower girl in the 2008 Forest Festival. She attends Landmark Baptist Church and is a Mighty Mite basketball coach. She has experience volunteering on the band field show, opening and closing ceremonies, princess housing and princess welcome committees. Mullenax will be coordinating the band field show, pet show, photography exhibit and the schedule of events.
Nida will serve his third year as an assistant director. He is employed as the service manager at Newlons International Sales. He and his wife, Marsha, are the parents of two daughters, Ashley and Megan. Megan was a flower girl in the 2001 Forest Festival and served as Maid of Honor in the 2012 Forest Festival. Nida's sister, Shawna Nida Davis, was a flower girl in the 1982 Forest Festival, and his brother, Steven, was a trainbearer in the 1973 Forest Festival.
Nida and his family have served on various committees in past festivals including the Grand Feature Parade, band field show and the children's parade. Nida will coordinate the bass tournament, Grand Feature Parade, tennis tournament and communications.
Parsons will return to serve her third year as an assistant director. She is an office manager and associate agent for Bialek Insurance. She and her husband, John, are the parents of one daughter, Grace. Amy Parsons was a princess in 1992 and Grace served as crown bearer in the 2011 Forest Festival. Her mother, Karen Bialek, served as an assistant director from 1994 to 2000 and was director general of the 65th Mountain State Forest Festival in 2001; her brother, J.B. Bialek, was a train bearer in the 1990 Forest Festival; and her sister, Ashley Bialek-Flanagan, was Maid of Honor in the 2004 Forest Festival.
Parsons served as an assistant to the Queen's Department in 2004 and 2005, and she served on various other committees. She has created and provided the coronation pillow for the past 20 years. She is a member of the First Baptist Church and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. She will coordinate the craft show, hospitality tents, window decorating and the classic rock and country music shows.
Riggleman will serve as an assistant director for his fifth year. He is a forestry supervisor with Mon Power, a FirstEnergy company. He and his wife, Robin, are parents of two sons, Garrett and Kyle. His sister, Kelly Gilbert, served as a royal jester in the 1981 Forest Festival, and his son, Kyle, served as train bearer in the 2009 Forest Festival.
Riggleman attends Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church. He is a past assistant Webelos leader and enjoys coaching baseball and football. He has experience working with the lumberjack competition and banners and flags committees. He will coordinate the Fireman's Parade, banners and flags, information booth and sanitation.
Shoemaker will serve his second year as an assistant director. He and his wife, Christie, are the parents of two daughters, Sara and Sophia. Christie Shoemaker served as Maid of Honor in the 1994 Forest Festival and Sara was a flower girl in the 2011 Forest Festival.
Shoemaker is a co-owner of Elkins Physical Therapy & Sports Injury Clinic. He attends First Baptist Church, serves as a volunteer for Relay For Life and is sponsor/advisor for the Diversified Co-Op Training program at the Randolph County Technical Center. He will coordinate the Get Acquainted Party, jousting, strong man contest, vendors and sound.
Wileman will return to serve a fifth year as an assistant director. Cpl. Wileman is a correction officer at Huttonsville Correctional Center. He and his wife, Melissa, are the parents of three daughters, Lynnlee, Mackenzie and Madison. For the 2012 Forest Festival, Lynnlee was a princess while Mackenzie was a flower girl.
Wileman sits on the Board of Directors for the Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau and has served as chairman of the Ramp Festival. He will coordinate the motorcycle poker run, lawn mower race, primitive campers, Seneca Trail Artist Guild and grounds.
The 77th Mountain State Forest Festival will be celebrated Sept. 28 to Oct. 6. More information is available at www.forestfestival.com or 304-636-1824.