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The West Virginia Strawberry Festival's awards haul from the 2023 event. (Photo courtesy Shane Jenkins)

Strawberry Festival brings home some sweet awards for 2023 media outreach efforts

BUCKHANNON – The Strawberry Festival took home three first-place accolades from the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals 2024 Communication Awards.

President of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Board Shane Jenkins said he could not remember a time when the Strawberry Festival scored this well across the board. The W.Va. Fairs and Festivals Annual Communication Awards score how well an event communicates pertinent information to its audiences.

“They call them communication awards, so a lot of it is how well you communicated to your audience or the public,” Jenkins said. “They’re all focused on social media, websites, newspapers – those types of things.”

The awards offer eight categories for submission, including Program Book, Pageant Program, Newspaper/Tabloid, Social Media, Brochure/Rack Card, Poster, Souvenirs/Memorabilia and Website. The Strawberry Festival won first place in Program Book, Pageant Program and Social Media.

“The program book was designed by our board, so that’s something we’re really proud of because I think a lot of the entries we were competing with were professionally designed,” Jenkins said. “The person who designed ours has a degree in graphic design – it was Kim Haney – so she’s very well-versed with all that and did a phenomenal job on it.”

“She had a committee behind her that helped her gather the information and post some things together with her as well, so it just turned out great,” he added.

Two different pageant programs from the Strawberry Festival were submitted for consideration – the Teen Queen pageant and the Junior Royalty pageant.

“The Junior Royalty Pageant program was the one that won first place, and it was designed by volunteers on our board; Alexis Queen designed it and she had a committee that worked with her on that,” Jenkins said. “We’re also really proud of our social media because all of that was done by volunteers.”

The Strawberry Festival took home second place in the newspaper or tabloid category and third place in souvenirs and memorabilia category.

“For the newspaper or tabloid, we submitted our insert from The Record Delta, and they always do a good job; it’s always very vibrant and colorful and we worked with them to get the information and then they put it together,” Jenkins said. “For memorabilia, we had several selections and I think they were judged as a whole, but one was the postcard we put together and two stickers.”

The stickers were the festival’s traditional West Virginia Strawberry Festival logo and the other one was the festival spin off strawberry freedom logo.

He said the board plans to work on the two categories where they didn’t place in the top three: website and brochure/rack card.

“We are really striving to place better in both those categories this year; we’ve already focused a little bit on the new rack cards and then the website placed eighth, so we did really well in that, too,” Jenkins said. “The website had just transferred hands, so we’re busy building that back up now.”

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