WV Strawberry Festival
|The 65th West Virginia Strawberry Festival will be held May 17-21, 2006 continuing the tradition of a fun-filled family affair that features a variety of entertainment, arts and crafts, the sale and exhibit of delicious strawberries, three parades and something for everyone — from the youngest to the oldest visitor. |
The idea for the festival originated in 1936. During the May meeting of the Buckhannon Lions Club, held at the Valley Hotel on Main Street, West Virginia Wesleyan College biology professor J.E. Hudson announced that Upshur County’s soil was ideal for producing the small, tasty fruit.
Shortly after that meeting, local businessmen and farmers organized a festival to help promote the county. That first festival was held three weeks later featuring a parade, a sweetest berry contest and an auction, all of which are still held today.
Today, the sights along Main Street have changed — a bank replaced the hotel and trucks replaced the horses which once pulled the floats. There are now three parades — a Junior Royalty parade, a Firemens’ Parade, and the Grand Feature parade. Since, 1980, more than 100,000 students and marching units representing 36 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Mexico have participated in the Grand Feature Parade.
Some things never change though. The royal court is the finest, the sights and sounds are the best, and the berries are the sweetest you’ll find anywhere.Of course, there’s also a great carnival every year, tons of great food, Main Street block parties and strawberries everywhere you turn.
Events begin in March with the selection of festival royalty. Teen and queen contestants from around the Mountain State compete in a pageant and a king is chosen based on who grew the best strawberries that year. In April, the festival’s young royalty are chosen in the Junior Royalty pageant.
When the Strawberry Festival kicks off in May, Buckhannon maintains its smalltown charm. For the locals, the festival is a time for families, neighbors, and friends to gather and celebrate the springtime — and also a chance to meet new friends from around the country.
Unlike many similar events, the West Virginia Strawberry Festival is staffed completely by volunteers. The board of directors works hard all year long to plan details for the event and the fruits of their labor pay off during festival week.
More information can be obtained by calling 472-9036 or visiting the website at www.wvstrawberryfestival.com .
Some Information Courtesy of the Upshur County Fact Book