Hogsett is new Wood County Belle

PARKERSBURG – Judy Hogsett, who has contributed years of volunteer service to the community, has been named Wood County Belle for 2013.

The belles are chosen from the membership of the Wood County Community Educational Outreach Service clubs. In her capacity, Hogsett will act as county ambassador at the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, walk in the festival parade and other activities as well as participate in some local parades and festivals.

Hogsett, 71, made her colonial-style dress for the festival. The belles attend the folk festival dressed in period clothing as part of the festival’s celebration of Appalachian culture and history.

“I used an older existing dress pattern and made some alterations to it. It took me about eight hours over a period of a few days. Most of the belles wear a calico dress and bonnet, but I wanted a dress that they would have worn to church on Sunday. They always wore dark colors, that’s why I picked the dark purple and dressy hat,” she said. She purchased the accompanying hat but added her own personal touches.

The festival, scheduled for June 20-22, celebrates Appalachian culture and history, focusing on old-time music, traditional square dancing under the stars 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.

Hogsett joined CEOS in 1968, and over the years has served as president, vice president and secretary at the county level for the clubs as well as chair of several committees. Hogsett has held all the offices at the club level, and on the state level, she was an elected member of the board and also chair for several committees.

“My mother-in-law got me involved with the clubs. She belonged to the Leachtown Club and invited me to a meeting. I kind of got sold at the very first meeting,” Hogsett said. She is a member of the Cedar Grove CEOS club.

Hogsett said she was looking forward to the festival. “I attended a festival as a chaperone with one of the belles a few years back, they really treat the belles like royalty, and I’m looking forward to representing the county at the festival,” she said.

As a member of CEOS, Hogsett has been involved with many community service activities over the years including participation in the Go Red for Women campaign which included taking training offered through West Virginia University. Go Red for Women is a heart disease prevention/awareness campaign. Hogsett was involved with a project to make mats for the homeless, promote Breast Cancer awareness and prevention and helped raise funds for for women who are underinsured or uninsured pay for needed cancer screening and treatment.

“We are also big supporters of the 4-H grounds, I’ve baked many a cake for their activities out there,” she said. “My daughters were in 4-H for awhile.”

Hogsett and her husband Paul, who have been married for more than 50 years, have four children and three grandchildren. Hogsett attends Kanawha United Methodist Church where she is a Sunday School teacher and a member of the women’s auxiliary.