(06/23/2001)
It has been 44 years worth of "Belles" at the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, although the festival started 52 years ago. Belles - not the kind you can hear, but the kind you can see. Belle is French for beautiful and Calhoun's beautiful Belle for 2001 is Irene Conrad of Grantsville.

Gilmer Belle Irene Snyder (L) and Calhoun Belle Irene Conrad (R)

Wirt Belle is Lucille McClung of Palestine

Each West Virginia County is invited to send a Belle to the festival, but several do not. They must be at least 70 years of age and "filled with the pioneering spirit that characterizes mountain heritage."

These good will ambassadors are honored guests at the festival, but in many counties they are recognized throughout the year.


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