79th Annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival Royalty receives crowns during Coronation


BUCKHANNON — It’s official! On Thursday evening, the 2021 79th Annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival Queen and King were crowned and sworn in, surrounded by Junior Royalty, the Board of Directors, local and state officials, friends, family and community at the Coronation ceremony.

During a beautiful, strawberry-themed ceremony at the Way of Holiness Church, Master of Ceremonies Keith Buchanan introduced all Junior Royalty, Princes, Maids, Hostesses and, of course, this year’s Queen and King— Caylie Simmons and John “JD” Born.

Mayor Robbie Skinner welcomed all royalty and guests, exciting everyone in attendance for the weekend to follow. “This festival—traditions, memories, reunions, pride and celebrations—those are some of the words that describe this event that has been taking place here for many years. For the citizens of Upshur County, these words describe the annual event, and mark our most special time of year,” Mayor Skinner expressed. “This is not a normal year, but I want to assure everyone that the state of the festival is strong. The City’s commitment has never been stronger, and this festival will continue to be bigger and better than ever before in the coming years ahead.” Mayor Skinner presented both Queen Caylie and King JD with the official Key to the City of Buckhannon.

The Queen and King stood with Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney to recite their royal oaths. WV Strawberry Festival President Shane Jenkins then presented Queen Caylie and King JD their royal scepters.

Without further ado, the King was crowned by WV Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt, and the Queen was crowned by WV House of Delegates (District 46) Adam Burkhammer.

The blessing was delivered by Rev. Gary McGrew, who joined King JD for the Presentation of the Berries. Everyone in attendance enjoyed wonderful, ceremonial music by Key to Adam, featuring Kiara Williams and Adam Moyer. Rev. McGrew provided the Benediction, and the recessional marked the end of this year’s Coronation ceremony. Be sure to say hello and welcome the Strawberry Festival Royalty to Buckhannon when you see the out and about this weekend!

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