ELKINS – The queen of everything autumn will be none other than a 19-year-old Buckhannon native when the 82nd annual Mountain State Forest Festival gets underway Sept. 30.
The MSFF Board of Directors recently revealed that Upshur County resident Alia Danae Figueroa was selected as Maid Silvia the 82nd, queen of the Forest Festival, during a special reception at Graceland Inn and Conference Center Sunday, June 3.
Maid Silvia’s identity had been kept under wraps for several months following a long selection process, which included a series of interviews.
A 2018 honors homeschool graduate, Figueroa is the daughter of Nicholas and Theresa Raschella of Buckhannon and the granddaughter of John and Cindy Sisolack and Pamela Raschella, all of Belington.
Figueroa had been informed several months ago that she’d clinched the queenship after MSFF officials led her to believe she was coming in for a second interview. At the supposed “interview,” they told her the good news — she had been selected as Maid Silvia the 82nd. Figueroa said she couldn’t have been more ecstatic
“I’ve been going to the Forest Festival ever since I was really little,” she said Monday. “I’ve gone to the coronation ever since I was little, and I remember saying, ‘I want to be her, I want to be the queen one day.’ I just loved watching the queen walk down the hill and the tumblers (royal jesters) perform. But the queen walking down the hill was probably my favorite part.”
Figueroa will have a chance to descend the hill herself during her coronation, which is slated for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Davis & Elkins outdoor amphitheater.
“I’m just overwhelmed. It’s an honor, and I’m humbled,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa says she’s most looking forward to touring local elementary schools and senior centers — especially considering she plans to spend her life teaching children. She plans to major in elementary education at Davis & Elkins College in the fall.
“I can’t wait to represent the festival,” Figueroa said. “I’m really looking forward to going on school tours to visit all the kids because my major for college is education. I’m also looking forward to going to the senior centers to just visit and socialize with everybody.”
In her downtime, Figueroa engages in a variety of hobbies, including drawing, painting, fishing, hiking, running, practicing theatrical makeup, working with children and volunteering at church. But of all those pastimes, Figueroa said her two favorites are art and volunteerism.
“I’m really into art,” she said. “I really like drawing and painting and also volunteering at Union Elementary School. I like the chance to get to be involved with the kids because it gives me an idea of how it would be teaching.”
The 82nd annual Mountain State Forest Festival spans Sept. 30 through Oct. 7, with this year’s theme being “The Majestic Roads Lead to Royalty.” The