Last week, I left Elkins WV, my home, for a fun-filled day trip to Pittsburgh, PA. Benji and I enjoyed pho, saw where Satan lives, and had some unpleasant interactions with the employees of the Greyhound station (which is to be expected, so close to satan’s home and all.) I stopped in Morgantown WV on the way home, did some pool hustlin’ to hits from the early 90s, and took two strange guys home with me. We all arrived in Elkins to find that in the time between my leaving at around 10:00 a.m., and my arrival at around 9 p.m., the entire city had been turned into a carnival.
From my apartment window, I can see 1. a gravitron, 2. a ferris wheel and a lame looking 3. caterpillar train ride. There are many other rides, most of which are variations on the theme of things spinning around a central axis slowly but not too slowly, and in novelty vehicles, like rabbits. I have successfully accustomed myself to falling asleep to blood-curdling screams.
There is also several corn dog/funnel cake outlets, a single airbrush stand, some games, and a stage. For the talent show.
It is Forest Festival in Elkins. I knew that Forest Festival was important because I get Friday, October 2nd off for it.
You see, we get friday off–everyone in town does–so that we can attend the coronation of Queen Silvia (silvia – Latin, forest, I think). A dramatic pagan ceremony featuring a little elf named Woodly who paints all the leaves in the forest their attractive red and orange colors. This is a lot of work for the 8-10 year olds who recieve the position simply based on winning a coloring contest on standard 8.5×11 paper. Maid Silvia (that is her title before the coronation) spends weeks traveling around Randolph County visiting schools, accompanied by a caravan of Actual State Troopers.
(By the way, another way that the safety of the people of Elkins is compromised by official emergency services being distracted by a lot of ridiculous and probably expensive ceremony is the Fireman’s Parade, which the official Forest Festival website describes as a “Magnificant [sic] display of fire apparatus,” but which I’m told amounts to many, many fire trucks from all over the state driving down the street I live on blaring their sirens. People have described it to me as both “awful,” and “a nightmare.”)
At the schools, the children give her gifts. One of my coworker’s mother, for instance, had plaque specially made for her son to give to Maid Silvia. Children are also encouraged to join in the Children’s Parade, a name which I am not the only person to immediately associate with the Children’s Crusade. The children’s parade consists mostly of baton twirlers, babies in wagons, and, strangely, Santa Claus. There was also a float that said “Don’t Litter!” that featured little children throwing candy at the crowd.
I’ll be attending several of these events over the next few days. Including the coronation. Since you cannot be there, I invite you, please, look at this video. (oh man, who is that handsome fella in the tux?)