WVSF holds 80th Annual Opening Ceremony


BUCKHANNON — The torch lighting and opening ceremony for the 80th Annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival (WVSF) was held at noon on Wednesday, May 18. The ceremony was held at the Upshur County Courthouse with both WVSF royalty and board members present. In addition, many community members attended as well as City of Buckhannon and Upshur County officials.

The event began with opening remarks by WVSF Board Member President Shane Jenkins. Jenkins then introduced Pastor Ed McDaniels to lead the ceremony with an invocation. Royalty members were then introduced and ceremonial activities including the raising of the flag, completed by members of the local VFW and American Legion. During the raising of the flag those in attendance were serenaded by the talented Matasha Weaver, who also serves as a board member for the WVSF. Weaver proudly sang the national anthem and all in attendance applauded her beautiful performance. Eighth grade student at Buckhannon-Upshur High School Hanna Harper also read her winning essay to the crowd. Members of the City including Mayor Robbie Skinner and Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney also made remarks welcoming everyone to the WVSF.

Then it was time for the lighting of the festival flame, completed by Queen Elect Kelsey Hill and King Elect Franklin Bush Jr. The weather was slightly overcast with a few raindrops and following the successful lighting of the torch a light sprinkle of rain started. The scattered rain did not affect anyone in attendance or royalty. Royalty even gathered in front of the torch for a photo op and to provide a friendly welcoming to the 80th Annual WVSF via TikTok. The group of royalty even opted to have a “silly” photo and posed with smiles and pointing their fingers to the recently lit torch.

With the torch lit, the 80th Annual WVSF is certainly off to a bright and warm start with the remaining weather to reach the mid-90s over the next several days. A friendly reminder to stay hydrated and apply sunscreen during this year’s events. Have fun celebrating the return of the full schedule WVSF!

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