The inaugural 2023 West Virginia Birthday Bash and Bartender Battle pitted Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble against City Police Chief Matt Gregory. (Photo courtesy Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce)

Bottoms up! WV Birthday Bash, Bartender Battle to feature four new sets of opponents this June

BUCKHANNON — Get ready for a night of excitement and flavorful creativity as the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce prepares to host its annual West Virginia Birthday Bash and Battle of the Bartenders — a fun fundraiser scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at the Opera House, 12 E Main Street, Buckhannon.

This lively event will feature some of the best bartenders in Upshur County as they go head-to-head, crafting unique cocktails in a bid to be crowned the evening’s champion. The event raises money to support the Chamber’s advocacy for local businesses and industries.

Tammy Reger, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, shared the inspiration behind the event.

“Over the years, we’ve had a lot of people stop in the office and ask, ‘Why don’t we do anything for West Virginia Day? What’s going on for West Virginia Day?’ so, we’ve tried to think of what we could do to celebrate that would be fun,” Reger said. “The Chamber does a lot of business events, but this one is more about just bringing the community and the business leaders together and having a good time and networking.”

This year’s Battle of the Bartenders will feature four thrilling battles with drink assignments already given out. Here’s the lineup:

  • Battle 1: West Virginia Wesleyan College President Dr. James Moore vs. Community Care of West Virginia CEO Trish Collett — Martini
  • Battle 2: Region VII Planning & Development Council Project Coordinator Carrie Wallace vs. Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry – Margarita
  • Battle 3: My Buckhannon Publisher/Owner Brian Bergstrom vs. My Buckhannon Editor Katie Kuba – Mojito
  • Battle 4: President of Loudin Insurance Jamie Powell vs. Owner/Agent at Hank Ellis Insurance Hank Ellis – Bloody Mary

“The bartenders are our local leaders,” Reger explained. “They can make their assigned drinks in any flavor and use whatever ingredients they want.”

Attendees will have the chance to sample the creations and cast their votes for their favorite bartender by purchasing “vote” tickets for $1 each.

“Whoever gets the most votes wins that battle, and whoever has the most votes for the evening wins the entire competition,” Reger added.

In addition to the cocktail battles, DJ Charles Hayes, a WVWC graduate and former Upshur County teacher, will keep the party lively with music and a photo booth.

“People really loved the photo booth last year,” Reger noted. “We post all the photos after the event online on our Facebook page, so that’s really fun, too.”

A scrumptious dinner — featuring a delectable bar food menu featuring items like chicken wings and sliders — will be provided by the Opera House. A cash bar will also be available for attendees to purchase regular drinks of their choice.

Tickets for the event are limited to just 200, so don’t wait to grab yours. Individual tickets are $30 for Chamber members and $40 for non-members. Table sponsorships are also available, with a table of eight priced at $300 and a table of ten at $400. Some larger sponsorships, such as the Rhododendron sponsorships, have already been snapped up by St. Joseph’s Hospital and Community Care of West Virginia.

Reger encouraged everyone to support their favorite bartenders by purchasing vote tickets.

“If you have a favorite bartender, be sure to contact them or the Chamber office to buy some vote tickets to support them,” she said. “It’s nerve-racking getting up there and battling in front of everybody, so every vote counts!”

To purchase tickets, stop by the Chamber office at 14 East Main St. in Buckhannon, call 304-472-1722 or email Reger at

Don’t miss out on this exciting event that promises fun, community spirit, and fantastic cocktails. Celebrate West Virginia Day a few days early with the B-U Chamber of Commerce at the Battle of the Bartenders!

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