Photo courtesy Buckhannon-Upshur Camera Club.

Fresh Frames: Strawberry Festival Photography Exhibit introduces new format as it moves to West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2024

BUCKHANNON—Oh snap! The Buckhannon-Upshur Camera Club hopes to attract photographers of all ages to the upcoming Strawberry Festival Photography Exhibit, which will feature a new format and venue this year.

Buckhannon-Upshur Camera Club member Sandra Miller said the 2024 exhibit will be displayed in a new location at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and the event will be a little different by focusing more on community than competition.

“Pre-COVID, we had a full-scale public contest, which was for amateurs only, and we had professional photographers come in to act as judges,” Miller said. “Then, when the pandemic came through, we couldn’t do that anymore, so we went over to the MIB Gallery and did gallery shows with a theme for a couple of years. Some of our members clamored to go back to a contest, but we decided rather than do a contest with judges, we were going to do an exhibit the public is invited to participate in.”

The new structure allowed the club to lower the cost of submitting photos to $15 for six entries.

“We are also really trying to emphasize our children’s category,” Miller said. “There’s no fee at all for children; it’s all free, so they can put in six photos for free. There are cash awards for children but no cash awards for adults. Ribbons will be awarded, but they are not first, second or third place ribbons — they are royalty choice ribbons by the Strawberry Royalty.

Categories include animals, West Virginia, black and white, nature, and general.

“Whatever photo you have will fit into one of those categories, and then the youth will go together into one category,” Miller said. “There is also a wide variety of sizes that people can submit, so if they happen to have something on hand they’ve already printed up, more than likely it’s going to fit into one of our sizes. It’s anywhere between an 8×10 overall to a 16×20 overall.”

The exhibit will be available for viewing at the West Virginia Wesleyan College gym on May 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 17 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We moved to West Virginia Wesleyan College,” Miller said. “They’re providing that space for us without charge, so we’re very thankful to them for that. We will be joining the quilters and the art folks, so we’ll all be in one place. We’re not sure yet whether we’re going to be on the ground floor or upstairs, because they’re doing some gym renovations up there, but it will be at Wesleyan and it will be in the gymnasium.”

Entries are due by noon on May 9, 2024. They can be dropped off at Lanora’s Custom Framing, 9 Madison Street in Buckhannon. 

“We want to support our local community, and we want to offer something the public enjoys as a part of the festival,” Miller said. “Some people are parade people, some people are quilt people, some people are art people. We want a festival that has something for everyone, and we also want people in our local community to have a chance to be a participant in the festival, not just a bystander. We want to encourage people to give it a go and we’re hoping there’s less of a competition feeling and more of a community feeling this year.”

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