BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon in mid-May just isn’t the same without the hustle and bustle surrounding everyone’s favorite red berry – a telltale sign that summer’s coming.
The Strawberry Festival was initially scheduled for May 9-17, 2020, but was canceled after the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association Board made a difficult decision to postpone everyone’s favorite family tradition for the first time since World War II due to Centers for Disease Control guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luckily, despite the postponement of the 79th Annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival until May 2021, a handful of businesses are still offering residents the chance to get their strawberry fix.
Although there are no strawberries painted on city streets, no smells of fried food emanating from food trucks and no one praying for sunshine during Saturday’s Grand Feature Parade this year, thanks to a slew of local businesses, you can still find a healthy dose of strawberry spirit.
Stone Tower Brews reopened for carryout orders Monday, May 11 – just in time to offer their strawberry specials. Manager of Stone Tower Brews Courtney Page said they will offer several items they are excited about in honor of the postponed festival.
“We decided we would do Strawberry Festival-inspired food when we heard the festival was delayed, both because we wanted to celebrate the festival and because we all personally love the specials we do for strawberry festival and didn’t want to miss out on them,” Page said.
Their strawberry specials will include strawberry habanero pulled pork BBQ, strawberry goat cheese guacamole, chocolate-covered strawberry waffles, strawberry salad and a strawberry shortcake latte. She said STB patrons can expect the waffles to return Saturday and Sunday, and the latte is currently available. She suggested people watch their Facebook for dates regarding this weekend’s specials.
Sweet-A-Licious started serving strawberry items in honor of the festival with chocolate-covered strawberries for the month of May. They’re also offering strawberry crepes, chocolate-covered strawberry milkshakes, strawberry ice cream, Bonnie Bell strawberry cake and cupcakes, and of course, strawberry shortcake served with vanilla ice cream.
Sweet-A-Licious is available for curb side pick-up, carry out and delivery on Main Street and to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
The Social Bar & Grill also recently re-opened their doors this week and plans to celebrate with strawberry items.
“We are just so happy to be open again, and we’re going to keep it alive,” owner Bryson Clevenger said. “We are just so excited to be back and see everyone again.”
The Social will begin offering a strawberry grilled cheese panini, Dawn’s homemade funnel cake, strawberry lemonade and a strawberry grilled chicken salad. The Social is available for carryout, curbside pickup and delivery.
Fish Hawk Acres, which recently expanded into a full-fledged grocer-aunt – half restaurant, half grocery store – is going beyond just offering strawberry-filled baked goods and specials. They’re actually recreating that downtown Strawberry Festival atmosphere by serving up Italian sausage hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks this weekend, too, catering manager Sara Bednarski said.
Of course, FHA will have the usual strawberry cinnamon rolls, their famous strawberry soup, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry-and-blueberry shortcake and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Bednarski said FHA has a sizable selection of gluten-free strawberry goodies as well.
So, no matter what strawberry sweet or savory-something you’re craving, you might just be able to find it downtown. Get them while they last, Buckhannon!