BUCKHANNON – It’s that time of year we have all been waiting for…Strawberry Festival!
The 78th Annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival is upon us. Thousands of people will be here in Buckhannon and Upshur County to celebrate yet another great festival.
It’s testament to the many volunteers, groups and cooperating municipal and county groups cooperating and working together to make this great event happen year after year in our community.
Just a quick drive or walk up and down Main Street shows off the community spirit behind this amazing event.
This year’s festival is running May 11-19. It kicked off informally this past Friday evening with Strawberry Friday at Jawbone Park, sponsored by the Tennerton Community Council and will continue throughout this week with one exciting event after another.
This year’s horse and carriage parade has been reported as one of the best in years with folks coming from far and wide to participate in the event.
It was recently announced the Parade Marshall of the 78th West Virginia Strawberry Festival will be West Virginia University football standout and legend Brad Hunt.
Hunt was a 4-year starter for WVU as a defensive tackle from 1983-1987. He was Rookie of the year and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1983.
In 1984 he played in the Blue Bonnet Bowl. In 1987 he was team captain, won the Ira E Rogers Award, Mountaineer Club, was All American, Honored by Dapper Dan Sportsman Club of Pittsburgh, All American for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, played in the Sun Bowl, Honorable Mention AP, Inducted into Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, and Ripley High School Hall of Fame in 2005.
This parade has grown over the years and is considered one of the best parades in the Eastern United States. Many bands and marching units attend from all across the US and Canada and there are many floats and novelty units that have attended nationally known events, such as the Tournament of Roses, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl etc. The Grand Feature Parade is broadcast live on WDTV Channel 5. The parade is the highlight of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival.
This year’s Grand feature parade is set for May 18 at 1 p.m.
According to the schedule, awards will be given out at 4:30 p.m. after the parade.
According to their website, the West Virginia Strawberry Festival kicked off in 1936 as a way to honor the Strawberry Growers and help them increase their sales. The first Strawberry Festival was celebrated in one day and as years passed, the events of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival grew into a full week. We continue to honor the Strawberry Growers from all over the state of West Virginia and traditionally hold the Strawberry Auction on Friday afternoon of Festival Week.
One interesting fact about the history of the festival is that after being discontinued for five years during WWII, the festival continued to expand into today’s weeklong celebration
The Record-Delta Strawberry Festival edition will hit stands Wednesday so be sure to keep an out of for it.
You can also keep up to date with the festival by visiting them on Facebook.