Latest News, WVPA Sharing

Forest Festival Queen’s gown reflects past festivals

Staff report

The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va.  — Maid Silvia Morgan Stephens will descend coronation hill to become Queen Silvia for the 81st year of the Mountain State Forest Festival today at 2 p.m.

Connie Linger has designed Maid Silvia’s gown for 17 years. Maid Silvia Morgan Stephens will become Queen Silvia for the 81st year of the Mountain State Forest Festival.
(Inter-Mountain photo)

This year’s theme, “Fall into Autumn Traditions,” prompted Connie Linger to reflect on her 17 years of designing Maid Silvia’s gown.

“A festival that has gone on for 81 years, and continues to maintain its traditions, deserves respect for all it represents!” Linger said.

Morgan Stephens will descend the hill for her turn to play the role of Maid Silvia of the Forest.

Her gown in a rich deep turquoise velvet features elements inspired from Linger’s past designs.

The gown is a simple princess seamed “A”-line style which always serves to lengthen the silhouette.

From both shoulders a bronze/gold brocade streamer drapes all the way down the front. The streamers light up the deep turquoise velvet.

At the waistline the streamers are anchored by copper shimmer velvet “flares” accented by two ornate brass buttons with three antiqued brass chains suspended between them. The flares are accented with Linger’s favorite topaz and golden Swarovski crystals. The streamers finish off at the hem as they frame an arrangement of more leaf-like flares with satin stitched edges in colors of copper, magenta, and glitter forest green.

The sweetheart neckline is edged in an arrangement of Swarovski crystals with a 1″ Aurora Borealis Topaz crystal at the center.

Stephens’ sleeves are gathered atop the shoulders and taper to snug wrists that must be zipped into. From the wrist, an extension reaches down to a ring on her finger and is entirely edged with more crystals. Atop the simple sleeve is a gathered drape of copper shimmer velvet adding dimension to the upper arm. It is anchored near the elbow by an ornate brass button, and left to drape off the sleeve loosely.

From the back of Stephens’ shoulders, the bronze/gold brocade drape continues down as a lacing, criss-crossed widely across her back ending in a simple bow. The lacing is also anchored by ornate brass buttons.

Stephens’ 12-foot train begins just below the bow at the back waist where a split peplum begins the bronze/gold brocade flounce.

The flounce flows on and off of the edge of the velvet train. At two points, larger brass chain is used to anchor some of the drape onto the train with large brass buttons used to secure it. More chain and buttons are used at the very bottom edge with a couple of intervals of large Swarovski crystals.

“The centerpiece of the train is possibly my favorite thing,” Linger said. “Can’t decide though, but it’s a radiating ‘flare’ or sunburst made up of various fabrics, some from the past and some from current, including several ‘flares’ of velvet from Morgan’s cousin and former Queen Silvia Lauren Biafora (Ritchie).”

“Other velvets include a flare of the Maid’s velvet and the Copper shimmer which is used as accents on all of the boys!” Linger said. “SILVIA LXXXI is embroidered on the center medallion of the sunburst.”

“I would like the opportunity to dedicate this year’s designs to the memory of my ‘Captain’ Terry Siewert,” Linger said. “I believe he would have approved and I absolutely miss his input, encouragement and feedback.”

“Thanks so much to all who worked so hard on the Minor Court costumes and headpieces,” Linger added. “Sheila Scott for flower girls and princess headpieces, Lola Collier for Woodly and trainbearers. And our new addition, Dottie Price, for taking on the crown and scepter bearers! Also Connie Pingley and Cricket Leary for pitching in wherever needed!”

See more from The Inter-Mountain

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address