BUCKHANNON – The 2022 West Virginia Strawberry Festival will shift south of Main Street and primarily be centered in the area around Jawbone Park, city officials said last week.
Buckhannon’s Consolidated Public Works Board discussed the layout for the 80th Annual Strawberry Festival during their Feb. 24 meeting. Mayor Robbie Skinner said the carnival will use the entire space across from Jawbone Park on Madison Street.
“The [Upshur County] Development Authority has agreed to allow the carnival to use their lot, and then, of course, it will be in our lot that we’re going be working on,” Skinner said, referencing the former Chase Bank drive-thru lot that the city plans to turn into parking. “We’re also going to be looking at closing Madison Street between Spring and Florida. It doesn’t need to be open … We’ve got East Lincoln Street and all those parallels. There are no businesses affected in that area, so it’ll make life easier with going back and forth [between Jawbone Park and the carnival].”
The festival vendors will be located around the sidewalk circle in Jawbone Park.
“If they do need extra room, they can go in the parking spaces, like in the front of Pop’s Furniture,” Skinner said.
Spring Street will be open, and nothing will be in Traders Alley or in the lot in front of Fox’s Pizza.
“Everything is shifting south,” Skinner said. “There was a little bit of a tense conversation at the beginning, but the city is preparing to invest more in the Strawberry Festival than we ever have before, and we’re saying, this is what it’s going to be,” Skinner said. “We haven’t put tons of money into that space down there just for our largest event not to use it.”
Skinner said after discussions, the festival was on board with the change.
“I feel really good about it,” he said. “By the time the conversation was over, Shane [Jenkins, president of the Strawberry Festival Board] was saying it was it was going to be the greatest thing ever.”
Moving the slimmed-down festival to Jawbone Park last year was a success, Skinner said, and he looks forward to seeing it there again.
“Everybody enjoyed it last year because it was a Festival Fridays on steroids,” Skinner said. “People can bring their lawn chairs down for the parade and just enjoy the afternoon music on Friday.”
The festival will kick off May 14 and run through May 22.