Reta Goedeke named Wood County Belle

PARKERSBURG – Reta Goedeke, 78, president of the Sand Hill Community Educational Outreach Service Club, has been named the 2014 Wood County Belle.

The Belles are selected from among the CEOS membership. In her capacity, Goedeke will act as county ambassador at the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, walk in the festival parade, participate in the festival events and appearances at local parades and festivals.

“We are always in the Vienna Homecoming Parade and I will be at the Honey Festival in Parkersburg, but the Folk Festival in Glenville will be the highlight of the year,” Goedeke said.

Decked out in her pink colonial-style festival dress ,which she made, Goedeke said it was an honor to be chosen.

“It is a privilege to be chosen as the Belle,” said the Vienna resident.

Belles attend the folk festival dressed in period clothing as part of the festival’s celebration of Appalachian culture and history.

“I started on one dress earlier but decided not to use it, then I got the pattern and started on this one in January,” Goedeke said. She also decked out a hat and made a bag to match her outfit.

“Pink is my favorite color and most of the other Belles wear darker colors, so I thought I’d be different,” Goedeke said.

This year’s folk festival is scheduled for June 19-22 and will celebrate Appalachian culture and history, focusing on old-time music, traditional square dancing and Appalachian arts and crafts. The fair lineup includes a parade with antique cars and the Folk Festival Belles.

The Belles first began participating at the festival in 1957. Ten Belles attended the first year.

The Belles are selected in each county by local groups, like CEOS clubs, seniors citizen groups, or the Chamber of Commerce. The Belles, who must be at least 70-years old, walk in the festival parade, attend the Sunday morning church service at historic Job’s Temple, a Civil War-era log church, and also make appearances at other activities throughout the festival.

Gwen Crum, county extension service agent, said the CEOS and extension service are both celebrating their 100th year of service this year.

“On May 12 we will be having a luncheon and all the Belles will be there wearing their dresses,” Crum said.

Education and volunteerism are key components of the CEOS clubs.

“Education is an emphasis of the CEOS Clubs. We help out with the 4-H, and volunteer at the fair,” Goedeke said. She is also very active at her church, St. John’s United Methodist in Vienna.

The clubs are involved with fundraising for breast cancer awareness, diagnosis and treatment.

“We have taken snacks, some clothing and wheelchair bags to the VA Hospital in Clarksburg,” she said.

Crum said the club members also do the cooking for the extension services’ Dining with Diabetes classes.

Goedeke enjoys sewing and still sews for her great grandchildren. Goedeke and her husband Alfred have six children, 13 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She said she also enjoys traveling.

For more information on the CEOS, contact Crum at the extension office, 304-424-1960. The office is on the fourth floor of the Wood County Courthouse, hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.