Strawberry Queen Gracie Marsh tastes a berry grown by king King Franklin Bush Jr. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik / My Buckhannon)

Strawberry Festival crowns new royalty at 2024 Coronation ceremony

BUCKHANNON – The 82nd Strawberry Festival has officially crowned their Strawberry King and Queen leading into the weeklong festival.

The royal pair’s coronation took place Saturday evening in Wesley Chapel on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where the king was crowned by West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt and the queen was crowned by state house delegate Carl “Robbie” Martin.

Strawberry Queen Gracie Marsh said that the festival is about creating new memories.

“My favorite part is creating all the memories,” Marsh said. “The festival prides itself on tradition — and family tradition especially — so each year, getting to come back and create new memories is such a special thing to me. I was looking forward to today the most because the coronation is such a special tradition with the Strawberry Festival. For me, it was getting to live out a childhood dream, so I’m humbled and honored to represent the 82nd West Virginia Strawberry Festival.”

Strawberry King Franklin Bush Jr. was crowned Strawberry King for the second time. He said his favorite part of the festival is participating in the parade.

“My favorite part is always going to be interacting with the crowd whenever we’re in the parade — there’s nothing else like it,” Bush said. “I’m also definitely looking forward to going around and meeting our sponsors. Without them, we really wouldn’t have this week going on. It’s such a staple here, and I love to see that.”

The 82nd West Virginia Strawberry Festival will feature a variety of events, food and entertainment. The full schedule of events can be found on My Buckhannon.

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