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June 20-23, 2024

The West Virginia State Folk Festival Belles

2023 FF Belles.jpg

2023 Belles

For more information about the West Virginia State Folk Festival Belles contact

Brenda McCartney at 304-462-7566

Gilmer County 2023 Baby Belle

Ella Layne Conrad


Gilmer County

Junior Belle

Phoebe Bailey

WVSFF Belles and long time members, please send us copies of your favorite recipes. The 2021 WVSFF Board will have a limited edition Cookbook celebrating the heritage of West Virginia and the Folk Festival. Please send all recipes to

and Carbon Copy

Thank you! 

Gilmer County 2023 Baby Beau

Callahan Freshour

Gilmer County Belle 2023, Brenda Somerville

2023 Belles

County                  Name 

                                                                      Barbour                  Judy Boylen

                                                                      Braxton                   Loretta Hutchison

                                                                      Calhoun                  Carol Taylor

                                                                      Doddridge               Phyllis BRuppert 

                                                                      Gilmer                     Brenda Somerville

                                                                      Greenbrier              Janet Hoover Johnson

                                                                      Harrison                  Linda Cross

                                                                      Jackson                  Wanda Shouldis

                                                                      Jefferson                Susan McFadden

                                                                      Kanawha                Susan Hooper

                                                                      Lewis                      Helen McClain

                                                                      Marion                    Vickie Crandall

                                                                      Mason                    Patty Johnson

                                                                      Mineral                   Donna Sue Purdy

                                                                      Monongalia            Debbie Simpson

                                                                      Pocahontas           Roseanna Groves

                                                                      Preston                  Donna Ries

                                                                      Putnam                  Sandra Murriner

                                                                      Ritchie                   Mary Thornburgh

                                                                      Upshur                  Sharon Stackpole

                                                                      Wirt                       Susan Smith

                                                                      Wood                    Judy Hogsett

Who: Each county may select one 'belle' who:

  • Is past her 70th birthday

  • Possesses qualities consistent with the spirit of a pioneer woman

  • Will enjoy the festival and make new friends

  • Participate in Saturday's parade (walking three level street blocks) in her own period costume

What: The West Virgina State Folk Festival is the oldest celebration of our Appalachian roots. The two and a half day long festival consisting of Old Time music, heritage crafts and demonstrations, square dancing, and much, much more!

Why: Belles represent their county and are honored guests at the Folk Festival. Exhibiting the spirit of a pioneer woman means that the Belles are not only verse in such skills as canning, baking, sewing, and household management, but they are community minded, charitable, and a leader. These 'good-will' ambassadors are a unique feature of the Folk Festival and there are always new friendships formed and old acquaintances renewed. Don't miss out on this great opportunity!

Where: Glenville, in the heart of central West Virginia. The festival is focused around the downtown City Park but has activities all over town from the campus of Glenville State College to the Senior Citizens parking lot.

When: Friday, June 16th through Sunday, June 18th, 2023

66th Year of the Folk Festival Belles-2024—by Brenda K. McCartney


This year there are some 25 Belles, who were selected by their county, usually through the CEOS (Community Education Outreach Service) and who are at least 70 years of age and a resident of West Virginia. Each Belle sends a picture of herself and a biography--it is easy to understand why each was chosen and why she should be an honored guest of the West Virginia State Folk Festival. Also, in the past few years, the Belles have sent in her favorite recipe, which is compiled and placed with previous Belles recipes in a cookbook. These cookbooks may be purchased in the Country Store—do not neglect purchasing one, as these ladies have some delicious dishes!


These ladies will stand out in a crowd---wearing period dress and displaying the name of her county on a sash. Some wear bonnets, some hats, and some carry umbrellas, but there is no doubt that each LADY is proud to represent her county. On Saturday, the parade will begin at 11:00 a.m., where those who attend, will see these lovely ladies strolling down Main Street, as each has her name and county announced. So don't miss seeing the Belles!


The first Belles visited the Folk Festival in 1957. Ten ladies stayed in the home of Fern Rollyson, past President and long-time supporter of the Festival. The Belles that year were: Mrs. Florence Engle-Braxton County; Mrs. Fannie Yoak-Calhoun County; Mrs. Daisy Sizemore-Clay County; Mrs. Elizabeth Carpenter-Doddridge County; Mrs. Emma Minney-Gilmer County; Mrs. Gertie Hall-Lewis County; Mrs. Icy Milam-Nicholas County; Mrs. June Elliott-Ritchie County; Mrs. Dottie Bolte-Roane County; and Mrs. Dorie Neptune-Wirt County.


These ladies knew the Folk Festival wanted to preserve the traditional pioneer way of life and were proud to represent her county, as a Belle during the Festival. Through the years, some things may have changed, but the Belles continue to represent their counties and promote the pioneering life that came before them. Each truly remains the "Outstanding Lady of the Festival".

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