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The festival royalty, including King Franklin Bush Jr., Queen Kelsey Hill, Teen Queen Cadence Ringer, Junior Teen Queen Madison Burnside, Junior Queen Channing Gillum, Mrs. Queen Kari Beth Park, Ms. Queen Susie Potter, Hostess Princess Katherine Tenney and Hostess Princess Breanna Morgan.

Board president says the W.Va. Strawberry Festival is ‘back on the map’

BUCKHANNON – The lighting of the festival flame and crowning of King and Queen officially commenced the 80th West Virginia Strawberry Festival on Wednesday.

The opening ceremonies for the 2022 festival kicked off in front of the Upshur County Courthouse, where Strawberry Festival board president Shane Jenkins thanked the board for all their hard work leading up to the festival.

“They’ve done a lot put the Strawberry Festival back on the map in West Virginia,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know how familiar you are with fairs and festivals, but the Blackberry Festival just closed their doors — they’re no longer a festival. It’s great that we’re able to continue our festival. It’s great to have the community we do, because we may not be so fortunate if we didn’t. To say I’m proud of our board of directors would be a huge understatement. They’ve just gone above and beyond this year.”

Jenkins said the festival is memorable for everyone in their own way, and he hopes new memories are made during this year’s Strawberry Flashback.

“The festival is something that’s not only near-and-dear to my heart, but near-and-dear to the entire board of directors’ hearts,” he said. “They pour their heart and soul into what they do. I hope you enjoy this week.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner thanked the Upshur County Commission for allowing them to use the courthouse for the opening ceremonies and said he was proud to host the Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon.

“We are so thrilled and so honored to be the host of West Virginia’s largest festival — and one of the oldest festivals — the West Virginia Strawberry Festival,” Skinner said. “We are thrilled to host a full event this year, and I thank the board of directors on behalf of the city for all the hard work and dedication they put in this year to make this a very special event.”

As a longtime resident of Buckhannon, Skinner said the festival is something he looks forward to every year.

“As a kid, I always looked forward to this time of year,” he said. “I was born in the 47th Strawberry, so I’ve enjoyed this festival now for 33 years, and each year I still look forward to it even though I’m an adult. It still has that same special feeling and that same special magic when you see everything go down the street. We’re very fortunate to have it here and I hope we can keep it for 80 more years.”

Upshur County Commission president Kristie Tenney thanked the city employees for making sure Buckhannon always looks beautiful for the festival and the county employees for pitching in wherever they are needed.

“I would also like to recognize all our first responders for the extra time and hours they put in during this time of year,” she said. “It is truly appreciated. You ensure our safety throughout the year and then go above and beyond during this special time. Many hours of preparation have been put in for this week of activities, and we would not be able to pull this off without the amazing members of this community. It takes all of you to make this beloved festival continue to be as successful as it is.”

She thanked the board of directors for organizing the best festival in West Virginia.

“We would also like to take a moment to recognize our military and thank them for their service, the sacrifices they’ve made for all of us,” Tenney said. “Thank you for continuing to keep us safe so that we can enjoy the freedoms we share, like this great festival. As we conclude [the opening ceremonies], we hope you all enjoy the amazing events throughout this week. While you’re out and about and enjoying the festival activities, we encourage you to stop by some of our local shops as well.”

My Buckhannon will be bringing you stories and photos throughout this year’s festival. Click here to see our master gallery, or view the festival schedule here.

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