CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Strolling around FestivALL events since 2007 in a stately pink dress and always wearing a colorful mask, Jude Binder’s character has become a mainstay at Charleston’s annual arts festival.
That year, Larry Groce, the executive director of FestivALL, said event organizers thought her character encapsulated all sorts of art into one character, making it easy for them to use the Binder’s character as a symbol for the annual event.
She’s known as the FestivALL Princess, a name Binder said the children gave to her that first year.
“She encompasses all of the arts: visual, dance, theater and even music,” Groce said. “She’s a great presence to be around.”
For Binder, too, the FestivALL Princess has seemed to gel with the event.
“It was something that seemed to work, especially for the children,” she said. “I’m a visual artist and a dancer so for me to put those two together is special.”
Binder moved to Calhoun County in 1973, establishing Heartwood in the Hills in 1982 to give rural residents a taste of the arts. Heartwood gives children and adults access to performance and visual arts…