I come to you today with a special report. Welcome to the pristine mountain culture of Elkins, West Virginia; home of the annual Mountain State Forest Festival.
Hello all, and welcome to the little town of Elkins, West Virginia. I am here today with my girlfriend and we are attending the annual Mountain State Forest Festival. I know what you are thinking, “What is a Forest Festival?” Well, that is a very good question. From what I gathered in my time there, it is a cross between a county fair, primitive reenactment with a dash of renaissance faire thrown in. Come to think of it, I’m still not quite sure what it was, but it was pretty cool.
Elkins was about a 5-hour drive from Massillon so I was pretty tired once we got in. I awoke the next morning and we headed out into the misty West Virginia October weather. As always, I had my Minolta X-370 with me but I also had a new camera that I had added to my arsenal, a Hanimex Mini 218 with a not so fresh 110 cartridge of Fujifilm 200 (expired 1998). Sadly I have not gotten these photos back from the lab but rest assured, they will go up when I get them.
After walking a couple of blocks to the festival, passing the numerous churches, we started out at the Lumberjack competition where the action was fierce and the commentary was just plain adorable. The older gentleman who called the games was full of quips like “sometimes ’ya get a pumpkin, other times you get a bone.” I’m not sure what it meant, but it sure got a reaction from the crowd.
We then took a stroll through the local college, Davis and Elkins College, and took in some of the sights like:
We also saw the people of Elkins showcasing the logging industry which is the lifeblood of the town and region:
As well as the annual parade for Maid Silvia (queen of the forest festival) and her court.
The experience is something that I had never felt before. Literally, the entire town shut down for several days and pitched in on the festival. The main drag (US 33) was even closed down for the event. Elkins is one of those hidden gems of a town that you find in your travels. Every corner of the town had some cool little thing to check out whether it was a mural, a community garden or even just the fall leaves.
One thing is for sure, I will be making this a tradition.
So join me again next time when I come to you with another interesting adventure captured in analogue.
And as always,
Tim Pawlak (aka 110isnotdead on LOMO) is a Librarian, writer, photographer and amateur historian (gotta use that History Degree somewhere). Massillon, Ohio (about an hour south of Cleveland) is where he calls home. He loves to get the feel of every new town he comes to and capture it on film. So if you make your way down the mighty Tuscarawas River, you’ll probably find him with his head buried in a lens.