Festival: No plans to move parade route

However, Route 20 road work won’t be finished by May 12

BUCKHANNON — Will Strawberry Lane have to be moved from South Kanawha Street this year due to construction of the third lane near College Avenue?

“It’s not going to happen, as far as I am concerned,” Debra Hupp, West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association president, said at Monday’s Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The West Virginia Department of Highways contracted with A.L.L. Construction in Mt. Storm for the project.

Steve Szabo, an estimator with the company, said the project will not be finished by the time of the festival, slated for May 12-20, but  they are working with the WVDOH on the schedule for that week.

Szabo said there are certain aspects of the project that the crew of six to eight people have not been able to do with the weather.

Water lines are being installed now and the next step will be installing drains. After that, widening the road and paving will be done almost simultaneously.

“At this point we don’t have a firm end date but believe it will be closer to the end of May and first part of June,” he said. 

The first parade that requires the Strawberry Lane route will be the Horse and Carriage Parade on Saturday, May 12 at a new time this year, 2 p.m.

Hupp said a request was made from the farmers so they could get home earlier in the day to tend to their animals.

As far as keeping Strawberry Lane on South Kanawha Street, Hupp said she has met with the Department of Highways.

“They are sending crews on a daily basis to check on the development,” she said. “We need everyone in the public to detour that area so that they can the work done.”

Several events for the WVSF have already been held. New royalty was chosen to reign over the festival: Queen-elect Charlotte Bellotte, teen queen Cayton Carder and returning king-elect Joseph Robinson.

This past weekend, an archery tournament took place.

Hupp said the festival committee is working hard to fundraise and is in need of more sponsorships. “Every event that we bring in, we have to have a sponsor for in order to make our budget come out, hopefully, in the black,” she said.

Anyone interested in sponsorships should call the festival office at 304-472-9036.

On Saturday, May 12, local CEOS groups have been invited to sell food and other items on Main Street.

Hupp also said the Draft and Horse Pull and Miniature Horse Show have been moved back to the Toby Bennett Farm on the Old Elkins Road this year. They will take place on Sunday, May 13.

Wednesday, May 16 includes the opening ceremony at noon at the Upshur County Courthouse plaza and coronation at 6:30 p.m. in Wesley Chapel.

Thursday’s activities include the Diaper Derby and Strawberry Blonde contests in the morning at the courthouse plaza and the Junior Royalty Parade at 6:30 p.m. down Strawberry Lane. On Friday, there will be activities at the courthouse plaza including the berry auction.

The Fireman’s Parade takes place at 6:30 p.m. down Strawberry Lane.

Saturday, May 19 includes the Classic Car Parade at 12:15 p.m. and the main event — the Grand Feature Parade at 1 p.m.

For a full list of the events, visit www.wvstrawberryfestival.com.


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