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The W.Va. Strawberry Festival Parade
May 23, 2012 - John Zirbs
Leading the parade was the Parris Island Marine Corps Band from Parris Island, S.C. Before them was the Honor Guard of the Marine Corps. Vicky Kelly was this year's West Virginia Strawberry Festival president.
The out of state honor band was the Battlefield High School band from Haymarket, Va. Gus Douglas and his wife, Anna Lee, were the honorary parade marshals. The in-state honor band was the Lincoln High School Band from Shinston.
Avis Reed, the 1937 princess, who is now 91 years old, took part in the parade. There were many dignitaries on hand. Susie Miller was the Strawberry Spirit winner. The host band was the Buckhannon-Upshur Marching Band, under the direction of Danny Williams.
The United Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps from Canada were featured, as were the Petersburg High School Viking Band. Sarah Thorne, from Moorefield, was the Strawbery Festival Queen, and the Strawberry King was Levi Gay from French Creek.
The West Virginia Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College walked and played down Strawberry Lane, as well. The Stockert Youth Center Drill Team performed in the parade Saturday, as did the Hardy Hawks Middle School band from Washington, D.C., the Unistars Unicycle Drill Team from Hampton, Va., the Capital Brass Mini Corps from Albany, N.Y., the Great Mills High School Band from Maryland, and the Karenette Dance and Drill Team from Beckley.
The West Virginia Lottery was a sponsor of one of the divisions. Others taking part included the Harrisonburg High School Junior ROTC, the Mountaineer Challenge Academy, the Preston Scout House from Canada, the Parkersburg High School Big Red band, and the Bonnie Brey Knights from New Jersey.
Haley Hargess was the Strawberry Festival Teen Queen. Also performing on the parade route was Bolivia-Tinkus Tiatico from Silver Springs, Md., Linda's Dance and Twirl Academy, and the Summers County Bobcats from Hinton. Muleketu from Paris, France, marched for the first time in the parade Saturday. Also featured were the Nicholas County Blue Belles, from Summersville, several Shriner groups, the Paw Paw High School Pirates band, the Upshur County Baton Corps, and the Marching Elites from Norfolk, Va.
Chesapeake Energy was the sponsor of the 1st Division of the parade. The Elkins High School Fighting Tigers band marched, and the Mountain State Forest Festival was represented in the parade by last year's Queen Silvia, Logan Grey Burke.
Sharon Strader was this year's Upshur County Belle. The Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band from Brooklyn, N.Y. made their first appearance in the Strawberry Parade Saturday. Prestige Homes was the sponsor of Division 3. The Lewis County Marching Minutemen from Weston took part in the parade. Mighty St. Joe's Alumni from Leroy, N.Y. entertained the crowd on their first visit.
The Cabell Midland High School Marching Knights from Ona marched and I thought they were awesome. The West Virginia Honor Guard also performed. A G.I. Joe Military Jeep was on display in the parade. The Dance Factory was the 1st place winner in the Junior Royalty Parade and they also performed for the crowd. The Braxton County Eagles High School Band from Sutton also marched.
The Taking A Stand Against Bullying Eston Nelson Promise was featured. The group's goal is to stop bullying and cyber bullying anywhere. Eston died last year after being bullied in school.
The Buckhannon Upshur Middle School Softball champions were honored in the parade. Fuzzy and Stubbles the clowns were also on hand to entertain the crowd.
I really enjoyed the 71st West Virginia Strawberry Festival Parade! It was really entertaining and the bands and groups were excellent. Thank you for a job well done!
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