Strawberry Festival insiders share 10 tips for enjoying the festival to its fullest

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BUCKHANNON – There are as many things to eat, see, do and listen to at the West Virginia Strawberry Festival as there are seeds on the outside of a strawberry.

So, naturally, My Buckhannon consulted some experienced Strawberry Festival frequenters to find out what advice they have for newcomers to the festival of the best and brightest red berry.

Here’s what you won’t want to miss – not to mention tips on how to enjoy the festival to its fullest – during this year’s 78th annual “Strawberry Roads Take Me Home” WVSF.

  • County Commissioner Kristie Tenney said it’s hard to nail down just one event that she enjoys about the festival. “It’s so nice to go to some of the little events that pop up that people may not realize they are missing, and I really enjoy the [1-mile] strawberry run and 5k,” Tenney said. “It’s great to see everyone out and being active.”
  • County Commission President Sam Nolte said he loves that Strawberry Festival is so enjoyable for the children of Upshur County. “This is one of the best times of the year to be a kid in Upshur County,” Nolte said. “I can tell you, after having three children that they have an absolute blast all week long just being able to go downtown and being able to eat different things and enjoy the carnival. It’s really not something to miss for the kids.”
  • Commissioner Terry Cutright looks forward to the food from a specific church. “You have to try the Chapel Hill strawberry shortcake or sugar cookies,” Cutright said. “You are really missing out if you don’t.”
  • Strawberry King Joseph Robinson said the Strawberry Auction is a stellar event. “I would recommend coming out and meeting the farmers on Friday at 4 p.m. for the Strawberry Auction,” Robinson said. During the auction, which takes place in the Upshur County Courthouse Plaza, the best of the farmers’ produce is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Even better? All the money raised goes back to the farmer.
  • Strawberry Queen Cassidy Myers said the Grand Feature Parade is grand in the truest sense of the word. “I definitely suggest if you can only come for one day of the whole week, come to the Grand Feature Parade on Saturday,” Myers said. “Everyone is out, and they welcome you with open arms and it’s a great time to see everyone.”
  • Strawberry Teen Queen Gracie Marsh said a person should try to make sure they have more than one day to spend at the festival. “Take your time and enjoy every single part, every painting, parade food, everything,” Marsh said. “It is so worth it to see everything.”
  • Hostess Princess Haley Thomas said if you come to the festival, bringing your family is key. “It gives you a great opportunity to spend time with your family, so you should definitely come down with them and enjoy it together,” Thomas said. “It’s so much better to have someone to enjoy it with.”
  • Buckhannon mayor David McCauley said his favorite event during the festival happens after all the parades have proceeded down Strawberry Lane. “My favorite time of Strawberry Festival is after the parades are over, and the Pardi Gras starts on Main Street,” McCauley said. “I live just a few doors away, and I just get a kick out of walking down the street and seeing everyone have so much fun.”
  • Member of the Strawberry Festival Board of Directors Charliena Helmick said any of the parades are important. “You need to make sure you see at least one of our four parades,” Helmick said. “People really go all out for each of them.”
  • And most importantly, if you’ve never been, give the Strawberry Festival a shot, said president of the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association Sandra Bennett. Bennett said if anyone’s never been to the festival, they should give it a try. “Come prepared to have a good time, enjoy yourself and enjoy everything you can while you’re in town because we have something for everyone,” Bennett said. “I guarantee there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”