Where do we find strawberries?

This week is the 77th annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon. If you are new in town or are a visitor for this week, you came to search out the strawberry and you will be pleased to know that strawberries are everywhere. Let us begin by seeing strawberry decorations all around town using this year’s theme of Stars, Stripes and Strawberries. Many energetic folks have used this theme to decorate their yards, porches, doors and business windows. You will see all sizes of wooden strawberries throughout town and you will find some of these decorations at the Strawberry Store on the corner of Main and Florida Street in Market Square. Look for the sign and shop for a variety of items featuring the strawberry. This is the location to purchase this year’s Strawberry T-Shirt and Strawberry Keepsake Program. As you walk about town, look at the windows downtown with many unique collections of keepsakes shared by collectors who love something special. Be sure to go into the stores and see what the various businesses have for sale. You will also want to visit the Presbyterian Church across from the Courthouse to see the crafts and strawberry items they have. The WVSF Arts and Crafts will open Thurs., Fri. and Sat. at the Rockefeller Gym from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will be open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Crafters will have many strawberry items for sale. While you are in the gym, go upstairs to the Quilt Show and visit the Art Show. There is an elevator for those who cannot climb stairs.

There are more events featuring the strawberry at the Senior Center on Kanawha Street. The Camera Club will once again feature many wonderful pictures as well as the Sr. Center Painters with their paintings. Some are for sale and some are just featured for your enjoyment. These are available to view on Wednesday. and Thurs. from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 –11 a.m. On Friday, the seniors will be capping strawberries for the championship and the Senior Lord and Lady will be crowned following the cap off.

The Strawberry Food Court will open on Spring Street on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and will be open on Weds., Thurs., Fri. and Sat. There will be all kinds of unique foods and various foods featuring the strawberry as well as music to listen too while you enjoy your food.

I have been told that strawberries will be for sale downtown. For the special times, contact the festival office at 304-472-9036 or stop in the office across from the courthouse. Speaking of the Courthouse the Sweetest Strawberry Contest will be held on Friday at 3 p.m. with six girls and six boys aged 12 who will judge the sweetest strawberry for 2018. Dr. Joseph Reed will be on hand to make sure the 12-year-old judges answer questions about the growing of strawberries and to see which grower has the sweetest strawberry. It is a known fact that at age 12, the taste buds are best to taste the sweetness and the tartness of the strawberry. Strawberry growers from all over the state will bring strawberries for auction at the Courthouse Plaza beginning at 4 p.m. The CEO Clubs will auction off their strawberry theme baskets which are always unique. The basket with the best use of the festival theme Stars Stripes and Strawberries will be chosen as the winning basket.

You will want to visit our restaurants to find many strawberry foods and desserts to enjoy. Many local organizations will have fundraisers featuring strawberries. Most of these organizations will be within walking distance from downtown. The Presbyterian Church across from the Courthouse will feature special items for sale. The 4-H clubs will be selling sandwiches and strawberry short cake on the corner of Lincoln and Kanawha St. You will find strawberry pancakes at the First United Methodist Church on Florida St. on Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. – noon. Hot dogs, strawberry short-cake, homemade sugar cookies and homemade ice cream will be sold at Chapel Hill UMC on Kanawha St. across from Poling St. Clair Funeral Home Thursday through Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Bring your lawn chairs, find a spot along Strawberry Lane which is from Marion Street, Rt. 20 on Kanawha all the way down Main St. and watch the parades move down Strawberry Lane while you enjoy all the foods including strawberries that can be found along the parade route. There are several businesses downtown that will have strawberries featured along the parade route and the carnival on Spring St. will have foods, rides, games and more for your enjoyment while visiting the Strawberry Festival. The CEO Clubs also organize a Strawberry Recipe Contest featuring many wonderful strawberry foods including tasty desserts. Winners are selected from various categories. This happens on Friday at 1 p.m. You may enter your strawberry recipe by contacting the Extension Office.

The Strawberry Festival began in 1936 as a one-day festival with the idea from Dr. Judson from WVWC. Dr. Judson researched and found that this area had the best climate and soil to grow strawberries. He brought this information to the Buckhannon Lions Club and suggested that a celebration of the strawberry should be highlighted to showcase the strawberry and all of the growers who planted, cultivated and sold strawberries in the area. The Lions Club liked the idea and organized the first festival in 1936 as a one - day event. The festival was titled the Central Strawberry Festival until it became a state festival. The name was changed to the West Virginia Strawberry Festival in 1959. The WVSF has grown with events featured for the entire family. This 77th year of celebration begins on May 12 and ends on May 20 with entertainment for the entire family of all ages. It is a celebration of the strawberry, a homecoming, entertainment, parades with groups from all over the United States and beyond and much more. The festival is an “Exciting Family Tradition” for everyone who attends. We hope you enjoy all the many choices of parades, events and the delicious strawberry foods you will find while you visit the 77th West Virginia Strawberry Festival.

I do not know who originated this quote, however I remember Dr. Almond using this quote many times as he told his stories about raising strawberries.

Doubtless God could have made a better berry than the strawberry, but He doubtless never has!

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