WVSF plans coronation

Event today in Buckhannon

BUCKHANNON — The West Virginia Strawberry Festival Coronation is a prime demonstration of Buckhannon’s hometown pride and patriotism.

A display of tradition, fanfare and finery, coronation is a time to honor the representative festival king, queen and royal court with Buckhannon’s gracious hometown warmth and hospitality.

“The West Virginia Strawberry Festival is the only festival in the state that selects a queen elect and crowns her exclusively at a coronation,” said Charliena Eubank, second vice president of West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals. “It is one of the few West Virginia Fairs and Festivals that sponsor a formal coronation to crown and showcase its royal court.”

The coronation is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. today at West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Wesley Chapel, as festival Queen Charlotte Bellotte of Charles Town, King Joseph Robinson of Mannington and Teen Queen Cayton Carder of Masontown are crowned with honor. Also joining in the festivities will be the Junior Royalty Court, the Minor Court and many dignitaries.

Although festival events begin on the Saturday prior to coronation of the strawberry king and queen elect, the ceremony is much like a formal kickoff, or literally “the crowning touch” to the festival.

“Coronations are nothing new to the festival,” said Deborah Hupp, Strawberry Festival president. “In fact, there has been a coronation every year since its beginning in 1936, except when the festival had to be put on hold during wartime from 1942-1948.”

“The festival is celebrating its 77th year, and the script the coronation follows dates back to the very first coronation we ever had,” said Hupp. “It’s a beautiful and breathtaking event, if you’ve never attended it.”

“Coronation is an opportunity to see what true beauty and elegance is all about,” said Eubank. “The West Virginia Strawberry Festival remains true to its motto, ‘An Exciting Family Tradition,’ as it blends tradition with exciting new things.”

Coronation Director Kristy Spencer said Key to Adam, a new favorite local instrumental duo, will be providing entertainment at this year’s event. Renowned violinist Kiara Williams and finger-style guitar player Adam Moyer play a wide variety of music and serve as a preferred wedding music vendor of the nearby Stonewall Resort.

The military will be represented at this coronation by the Upshur County Honor Guard of Buckhannon.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the community and festival each year,” said Eubank. “We really put on a good festival that truly shows what the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals is all about.”

More than 100,000 people grace the streets of Buckhannon to the attend eight-day celebration, Eubank said.

Next to the Strawberry Festival, the West Virginia State Fair is the longest-running festival in the state.

Everyone is welcome to experience the local flavor and entertainment showcased during the weeklong festival, which continues through Sunday.

More information is available by calling the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association at 304-472-9036 or visiting www.wvstrawberryfestival.com.