By Chad Clem
The Mountain State Forest Festival is in full-swing and Monday kicked off with the first portion of Maid Silvia's annual tour of businesses and schools throughout Randolph County.
The Inter-Mountain photos by Chad Clem
Opening presents during their royal visits Monday were Maid Silvia LXXVII Ashley Elizabeth Houchin, center, and her maids of honor, Kara LeeAnne Parrack, left, and Amber Marie Karlen, right. They were delighted by the many gifts and tributes they received during their travels, including at this stop at Davis Trust Company.
Maid Silvia LXXVII Ashley Elizabeth Houchin and her maids of honor, Amber Marie Karlen and Kara LeeAnne Parrack, arrived at the Kissel Stop early Monday to taste and promote the restaurant's Queen Sylvia's Choice LXXVII flavor of coffee. This year's flavor consists of buttery graham cracker, cinnamon, European vanilla and Georgia pecan.
Houchin and her maids then traveled to Davis Trust Company, where they were greeted with gifts by the bank's CEO, Hugh Hitchcock.
The entourage then headed for the First United Methodist Church, visiting the pre-school class. She gave the class an autographed copy of the MSFF official program.
Other destinations for Houchin and her maids included Youth Health Child Care, Pickens School, Nella's Inc., Nella's Central and Colonial Place.
They also took a tour of the town of Helvetia with lunch at The Hutte.
Houchin and her maids will continue her tour of the schools today and Wednesday, along with visits to Huntington Bank and Citizen's Bank of West Virginia.
The MSFF royalty also got up close and personal with a variety of local pets Monday evening.
More than 50 animals and their owners competed in the MSFF Pet Show at the Elkins High School gymnasium. There were many "purr-fect" performances, and this year's competition was particularly "ruff."
The event was sponsored by Tractor Supply, Missy Reger and the Randolph County Humane Society.
The Pet Show featured 14 categories. Houchin and her maids each got to pick their favorite pet of the competition.
The winners of the categories are as follows:
Owner/Pet Look-a-Like: First place, Gag Shomo with Suli Doll the Poodle; second, Cailey Lott with Blondie the Chihuahua; third, Landon Kyle with Spot the Dalmation/Lab.
Largest Cat: First, Lexiam Grant with Cocoa, Rag Doll Cat.
Most Fitting Name: First, Kay Johnson with Whiskers the Cat; second, Andrew Holbrock with Loppy the Bunny; third, Vickie Aucremonne with Mine the Shih-tzu.
Prettiest Cat: First, Kaitlyn McDaniel with Daffy the Persian; second, Austin Lott with Sonic the Cat; third, Brittany Ireland with Nale the Cat.
Largest Pet: First, Lori Whipkey with Lola the Great Dane/Lab.
Most Unusual: First, Brendan Lewis with Hadike the Hairless Cat.
Most Handsome Dog (Males): First, Jonathan Elmore with Noble the Sheepdog; second, Jaden Pritt with Oliver the Shi-poo; third, Cotton Stashy with Tucker the Golden Retriever.
Best Tricks: First, Janice Brady with Spencer the Shipoo; second, Emma Quint with Daisy the Beagle.
Smallest Pet: First, Madeline Lewis with Beany the Jumping Bean; second, Anlyne Wamsley with Hermy 1, 2 &3 the Hermit Crabs; third, Jonah Johnson with Hermie the Hermit Crabs.
Best Costume: First, Jayne Lewis with Alexander Barkington Shih-poo; second, Derreck & Kyatt Bailey with Willy the Mini-Dacshund as Woodly the Elf; third, Leslie Stasy with Gray the Golden Retriever.
Most Beautiful Dog (Female): first, Jessica Arbogast with Eleanor Rigby the Golden Doodle; second, Sydney Cooper with Rosie the Border Collie/Australian Shepherd; third, Victoriya Lompert with Princess Sassy FoFo the Maltese/Yorkie.
Shortest Tail: First, Lext Reger with Jayde the Olde English Bulldogge.
Cutest Baby (Up to 1-year-old): First, Christopher Lott with Knuckles the Cat; second, Taylor Lompert with Mr. Frodo Baggins the Yorkie; third, Colleene Lewis with Onyx the Kitty.
Obstacle Course: First, Emma Quint with Daisy the Beagle; second, Lext Reger with Jayde the Olde English Bulldogge.
Queen's Choice: Scarecrow Dog-Leslie Stashy with Cruz.
Kara-Maid's Choice: Piano Dog-Janice Brady with Spencer.
Amber-K-9 Advantage Maid's Choice: Alverde Sharp with Benny.
Monday's Gospel Talent Show featured several competitors vying for the top prize and a spot in the talent show finals on Thursday.
In the youth category, Kayla Basshoff Childs, of Elkins, took first place, while Kayla Ray, of Elkins, won second place and a group consisting of Ray, Josh Helmick and Brittany Foster, all of Elkins, took third place.
In the teen category, the first place trophyt was won by J.W. McGahan, of Clarksburg, second went to Kaitlyn McKinney and third went to the Courtney Helmick Group.
Michael Bonnet, of Elkins, won first place in the adult category, while Emily Shaffer, of St. George, took second place and third place went to Katrina Groves of Fayetteville.