You may be sad to see the summer heat go, but the crisp, cool fall air brings with it lots of fun to Randolph County. During the first weekend in October over 80,000 people visit the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins. Featuring demonstrations, arts and crafts, competitions, parades, live music, and more, this festival is one of the oldest, largest festivals in the whole state of West Virginia. It’s also one of the best times to travel through the state and admire the fall foliage that graces our mountains and valleys.
Here’s our insider’s guide on some of the most popular activities to enjoy at the Forest Festival:
Arts, Crafts, & Exhibits:
From traditional arts and crafts to a more interactive experience there is an amazing amount of handiwork to appreciate at the festival. Over the years the Mountain State Forest Festival has expanded its arts, crafts, and exhibit displays into 6 different facilities throughout downtown Elkins. They are all within walking distance of each other and all bring high-quality craftmanship to the festival. Check out the annual juried art exhibition at the Arts Center, the woodworking skills at the City Park, the quilt show at the YMCA, or the large arts and crafts show at Davis & Elkins College Memorial Gymnasium. We highly suggest taking a stroll through the primitive campground exhibit where you can chat with the campers and take a peak inside their tents and teepees.
Wake up early Saturday morning and watch this action-packed competition. From best sawing and ax throwing, to speed climbing, bring a chair and watch some of the state’s best lumberjacks compete against each other with these jaw-dropping events. We promise you won’t be disappointed. The Lumberjack Competition has been a part of the Mountain State Forest Festival since it began in 1936.
Royal Coronation of Queen Silvia:
Make your way to the Davis & Elkins College Amphitheater and watch as the benches on the hill are filled with thousands of people. This is one festival event that everyone should experience at least once. Princesses from all over the state are escorted down coronation hill showcasing their custom designed dresses. Feel the excitement in the air as the jesters perform tricks, tumbles, and jumps. Be dazzled by the cuteness of the royal court as they carry the crown jewels of the Mountain State Forest Festival to the stage. Finally give a standing ovation as Maid Silvia gracefully walks down the hill and the enthronement begins.
Feel the magic of the Forest Festival spring to life as decorative floats, marching bands, and many organizations participate in the various parades. Get the kids ready for a fun filled afternoon at the Children’s Parade. Dressed in their best, watch them dance their heart out, and cheer on the numerous youth organizations that take part in this parade. The Fireman’s Parade lights up the night sky with fire trucks, emergency squads, and police cruisers from all over the region. It’s been said that you can hear the sirens of this parade over 10 miles away so be sure to bring your ear plugs! Just before the Grand Feature Parade, the Antique and Classic Street Car Parade and the Special Units and Log Truck Parade travel through downtown Elkins. The parade route is a little over 2 miles long!
Carnival Food & Rides:
While it doesn’t seem possible, there are actually ways to eat healthy at the Forest Festival, but we’re not interested in that. It’s not a true festival experience until you’ve had that grease-soaked plate of a fried funnel-cake or tasted that sweet, battered corndog and smothered cheesy fries available at one of the many food vendors. Not only does the food entice us, but the rides are pretty exciting too. Whether you seek the adrenaline rush on the Squirrel Cages, the twisting and turning on the Scrambler, or the ease of the Ferris wheel, there’s always something for everyone at the carnival even the kiddos. The Carnival is one of the best places for children to experience the festival fun.
Now that you know some of the most popular things to do at the Mountain State Forest Festival, check out the full schedule of events here and share with us your festival experience by using #RandolphWV so we can feature your photos!