Vera Smith to represent Wood County at West Virginia State Folk Festival

Photo Provided Vera Smith of Parkersburg was named the 2019 Wood County Belle and will represent the county at the 70th annual West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville June 21-23.

PARKERSBURG — Vera Smith of Parkersburg, the 2019 Wood County Belle, will represent the county at the 70th annual West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville June 21-23.

She is sponsored by the Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS).

The Belles from across the state will be “good-will” ambassadors and honored guests for the weekend event.

Exhibiting the spirit of pioneer women, they demonstrate the importance of home and family in preserving state traditions, culture, moral values, work skills, and crafts, festival officials said.

One of the important parts of being a Belle is selecting a costume. It should reflect the old fashions of a bygone era, officials said. Smith will wear a dress worn at her wedding 43 years ago by her mother-in-law Dollie Smith. The lace sleeves reflect the era of the early 1900s.

A bibbed apron made by the Belle has been added to her costume along with a wide-brimmed hat. The Belles will be wearing their costumes throughout the weekend: to the 11 a.m. parade on Saturday, to a tea, a banquet in their honor, the singing of the West Virginia Hills in the auditorium, the Job’s Temple for Sunday morning church service and the many planned activities.

Smith attended Elk Grade School in Charleston before moving to Ripley in 1955. She graduated from Ripley High School, Glenville State College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and West Virginia University with a master’s in the same field. After graduation at Glenville she was employed by the Wood County Board of Education as a third-grade teacher for 15 years.

She resumed teaching for 12 years as a substitute and homebound teacher after spending a few years at home with her family– husband Thornton and their three sons, Chris, Dave and Phil. She later worked at the Parkersburg Sewing Center doing monogramming, preparing taxes at H&R Block, and developing film and writing articles for the Wirt County Journal.

Through church, clubs and organizations she has devoted many hours to volunteering. As a member of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church she serves on the Nurture Team knitting and crocheting newborn hats for the local hospital, making prayer shawls and blankets, and embroidering labels.

For the SakPak Ministry, which helps feed Mineral Wells Elementary School students, she helps with fundraising by making and donating crafts. She supports the church food pantry. She has been a member of the International Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in her community the past nine years.

As an active 35-year member of Wood County CEOS Smith has served in all offices and chaired most committees in the Washington and mainly Country Roads Club. She has compiled many of the club scrapbooks and exhibited yearly at the county fair and West Virginia Interstate Fair & Exposition. Currently serving on the county Membership Committee she recently presented a proclamation before the County Commission in recognition of CEOS Week.

A 35-year Wood County 4-H leader, she has been a project leader of This Is 4-H, and sewing and conservation projects. While volunteering as club conservation adviser for the Saulsbury 4-H Club with the WV Youth Environmental Program(1984-2008) numerous awards were received by the club and individuals for their recycling, litter control, beautification, and Adopt-A-Highway efforts.

Through the RSVP Senior Stitchers, Smith sews walker bags, clothing protectors, Christmas stockings, and quilts which are donated to local hospitals, care facilities, Old Man Rivers, Habitat for Humanity home dedications, and wherever there is a need.

Smith has won best of show at the state Honey Festival baking contest and her items have been donated to the festival for the auction fundraiser. In past years she has canned lots of her families garden produce and still makes jams, jellies, pickles and relishes.

Smith enjoys camping with her husband as a member of the Good Sams chapter, Wild Wonderful Sams (a past president), traveling through 20 states to and from the Pacific Coast.

Smith’s advice to young people today is, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart … and love one another. Broaden your horizons with a good education, use technology wisely, take great care of our earth, and volunteer.”


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