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West Virginia Folk Festival a family affair for Mielecki, granddaughter

Diana Mielecki (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Diana Mielecki will represent Wood County as County Belle for Wood County Community Education Outreach Service at the West Virginia Folk Festival from June 18-20 in Glenville.

Her granddaughter, Cate McLain, will represent Wood County 4-H as a Junior Belle at this year’s festival.

A resident of Washington, W.Va., Mielecki is a member of Country Roads CEOS club in Mineral Wells. Mielecki has been a member of CEOS, formerly known as Farm Women, since 1997.

She also taught school in West Virginia for 30 1/2 years before retirement. She and her husband, Bob, have been married for 49 years and have three daughters, all of whom are 4-H All Stars, and five grandchildren, four of whom are continuing the family 4-H tradition. The other is a toddler.

In addition to teaching, Mielecki helped her husband manage the Camp Galilee Church of the Brethren for nine years during the summer. Other volunteer activities included working with 4-H, hosting 4-H IFYE students and AFS students, teaching Sunday School, Bible School and youth groups, Read Aloud and helping to write and implement a grant to restore a one-room school at Reeses Mill in Mineral County during a former residence there.

Cate McLain (Photo Provided)

While living in Mineral County, Mielecki was CEOS club secretary, county vice president, county secretary and the area Purposeful Reading Representative. For the past two years, Mielecki has served as the state CEOS Purposeful Reading Chairperson. Mielecki attends South Parkersburg Baptist Church and is a member of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society.

Hobbies include reading, swimming, travel, and writing an occasional poem or grant.

Mielecki is filling in for Kay Hill, who had to step back for health reasons. To be eligible, a belle must be over 70 and possess values consistent with the pioneer spirit and participate in Saturday’s festival parade wearing pioneer period costume.

While many belles design their own costumes, Mielecki is wearing two dresses donated to WVU Extension by the family of Louise Bennett, 2011 Wood County Belle. The one of blue and gold fabric will be worn at activities on June 20, West Virginia Day.

The folk festival is held at Glenville and is the oldest celebration of Appalachian roots. While the music is the primary focus, crafts, demonstrations, square dancing, a spelling bee and gospel singing are also available.

To qualify as a Junior Belle, children need to be in third grade and participate in 4-H.

McLain is the daughter of Kelly and Kyle McLain of Parkersburg and granddaughter of Diana and Bob Mielecki. She is a student at Blennerhassett Elementary School where she participates in basketball and track.

She also plays soccer for Club Ohio. McLain loves traveling, baking, sports, her cats and playing with friends and Slime.

Her goal is to become a teacher. She is committed to the 4-H goal of making the best better by community service and healthy “head, heart, health and hands.”

Some of her community service includes helping plant trees at the 4-H camp and participating in a live nativity at Christmas in Southwood Park.

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