Strawberry Festival gears up for big finish

The sun came out Friday, giving a sun-splashed feel to the West Virginia Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon. But weather forecasters warn that feeling may be short-lived.

A 70 percent chance of “scattered” or “isolated” showers is in the area forecast for today.

The highlight of today’s events will be the Grand Feature Parade down Strawberry Lane. The parade, which is being sponsored by The Inter-Mountain and the West Virginia Lottery, steps off at 1 p.m., traveling West Virginia Route 20 before turning on to Main Street. The parade will be broadcast live by WDTV.

The out-of-state Honor Band for the parade will be the Akron (N.Y.) High School Marching Band under the direction of Mark Flynn. The in-state Honor Band will be Cabell Midland High School. It was the Sweepstakes winner in the 2012 Strawberry Festival competition, earning it the honor of returning this year to represent the school in the Grand Feature Parade.

Units from the Bahamas, Jamaica and Canada will join with groups from across the United States in the 2.5-mile parade.

One of the more interesting bands to participate in the parade will be the Legend Marching Band from Freeport, Grand Bahamas, Bahamas. The group will travel by cruise ship to Florida and then by bus to Buckhannon. The group is a nonprofit, community band that was established in 2005, and it consists of adults, students and children as young as 6 years old. Legends captured the “Best Music” title in the 2007 Martin Luther King Day Parade in Pensacola, Fla., and it has performed at the Citrus Bowl Parade in Orlando, the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Mardi Gras in Georgia.

The band will also be a part of the Strawberry Festival’s Field Show at 5:45 p.m. at West Virginia Wesleyan’s Virginia Law Creative Arts Center. The national anthem will be presented by the United Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, along with Junior Royalty Parade marshal Sebastien De La Cruz.

Prime Time Brass from Rochester, N.Y., will take the field at 6 p.m., followed by Sebastien El Choro Del Oro from San Antonio, Texas, at 6:25 p.m.; Junkanoo Dane from the Bahamas at 6:50 p.m.; United Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps from Ontario, Canada, at 7 p.m.; South Philly Vikings Fancy Brigade from Philadelphia at 7:25 p.m.; DC’s Different Drummers Marching Band from Washington, D.C., at 7:45 p.m.; Calgary Fiddlers Association from Canada at 8:10 p.m.; the American Originals Fife and Drum Corps from Washington, D.C., at 8:35 p.m.; and the Legends Marching Band at 8:55 p.m. There is a $5 admission charge for the show. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Strawberry Festival headquarters or at the gate, which open at 5 p.m.

If antique cars are more to your liking, a parade of vintage vehicles will proceed down Strawberry Lane at 12:30 p.m. Registration for the parade will be at 10:30 a.m. behind the Camden dorms of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Cars or trucks must be at least 25 years old to participate.

Today’s events also include the Strawberry Fun, a mile-long foot race over Strawberry Lane. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at Buckhannon Academy Elementary, and the race gets under way at noon. It is open to all ages.

The day’s events conclude with another night of Party Gras in the downtown area. Providing the musical entertainment will be Nashville recording artist Big T at the Main Street stage and Matt Enik on the Spring Street stage.

Sunday’s events include the Jack Barker Memorial Canoe Race on the Buckhannon River. The race begins at noon, and those interested can register at the boat dock on Wood Street prior to the event. Irish Road Bowling will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on Turkey Run Road.

A miniature horse show will start at 1 p.m. on the Bennett Farm just off of U.S. 33.

The festival closes with a 2 p.m. Gospel Sing on the Wesleyan campus. Featured guests at the event include festival Bishop, the Rev. Ed McDaniels, Breath of God Worship Team, Soldiers of the Cross, Josh Oldaker and Rise’ Hannifan and Becky Walton.

Schedule of Events for Today

7 a.m. to noon – Strawberry pancakes and sausage at First UMC

9 a.m. – Law enforcement breakfast, invitation only.

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Photography exhibit at Upshur County Senior Center

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Music and entertainment at courthouse plaza

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Crafts show at First Presbyterian Church

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Antique engine and tractor show on Main Street

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Arts and crafts, Quilt shows at WVWC gym

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Strawberry shortcake and drinks at American Legion

9 a.m. to 11 p.m. – Strawberry Festival Gift Shop open, 15 West Main St.

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Homemade ice cream, strawberry shortcake and sugar cookies at Chapel Hill UMC

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Registration for Strawberry Mile at Academy School.

Noon – Strawberry Mile race

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – 4-H strawberry shortcake, steak sandwich sale at Episcopal Church

12:30 p.m. – Antique car parade

1 p.m. – Grand Feature parade

2 p.m. – Berry Best Car Show

4 p.m. – Irish Road Bowling on Turkey Run Road

5:30 p.m. – Strawberry Idol at the courthouse plaza

5:30 p.m. – Field Show exhibition at WVWC Virginia Law Center

9 p.m. to midnight – Party Gras and fireworks

Schedule of Events for Sunday

10 a.m. – Brassmasters 1800 and pistol matches at White Horse Center

10 a.m. – Jack Barker Canoe Race registration on Wood Street

Noon – Canoe race

Noon to 3 p.m. – Strawberry Festival Gift Shop open, 15 West Main St.

10 a.m. – Miniature horse show at Bennett Farm

1:30 p.m. – Irish Road Bowling on Turkey Run Road

2 p.m. – Gospel sing at WVWC Chapel.