I took time Saturday to travel down Buckhannon way for the Strawberry Festival. Only one previous time in my life had I ever been to the Strawberry Festival Parade and, well, that was because I was in it. I really didn't know what to expect but I knew it was going to be entertaining. And I wasn't disappointed. I will focus on the parade for the most part but the people who attended the parade were as great as the parade itself.
Upon arrival, we ran into some traffic issues. We had to wait in line to speak to a police officer who I would guess came directly from "Reno 911." After a brief conversation that included where we should park, we headed to a gravel parking lot and met Junior. He was...Juniorish? He directed us to the parade route and after walking for 10 minutes or so, we made it to the parade and found a good place to hang out and watch. There were thousands already with chairs setup so we just kinda found an empty spot behind chairs and took up residence.
The Classic Car Parade was up first and they were led by a bunch of tractors. Most of the tractors were rather nice, by tractor standards.
This poor guy didn't look very happy with his tractor. Perhaps it is because it was smaller than all the others? Maybe it was because that child on the left is pointing and laughing? I really don't know.
Most of the cars in the show were pretty nice.
But there were a few questionable choices.
Morgantown High School was the honor band and they sounded pretty good.
The Santiago dancers were pretty amazing. I've seen them before but I can't remember where. This is a good time to mention that it was 70-degrees but everyone in the parade looked like it was about 90. The sun was pretty warm but I didn't think the parade was that long. Not sure though...
New West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart made the trip down from Morgantown from the parade and was bombarded by autograph seekers. He may have also been harrassed by an unnamed camera man. An investigation is pending...
Betty Ireland may have been the happiest person in the parade. She was attempting to get any reaction from the crowd but most people just ignored her. I like her. And I think she was happy to get her picture taken. Her driver was too.
Our neighbors to the right were interesting. This woman had a bee on her back and was in a tizzy trying to rid herself of the visitor. Stanley took a picture of her and was busted. While she took it in good humor, her behavior considered to get more bizarre. She later "joined" the parade for a bit and her grandson called her "retarded."
Buckhannon-Upshur Lewis County High School band was in the parade. The girl on the right is handing out water bottles to the band to keep them going. As I said before, the parade must be longer than I think because by the time everyone got to us, it looked like they had been traveling many, many miles.
The "Cat in the Hat" float was interesting. Unfortunately, it had some issues. They were able to get it back up though. The wind was pretty bad.
This band from Springdale, Maryland was arguably the best group in the parade. The music was good and they definitely knew how to march down the street. Very entertaining.
And this group was just a drum corps with dancers. They were also very good.
Ronald McDonald was having a good time in the parade until the stormtroopers came and took care of business. We won't discuss that...
Things must have been getting stale at this point since Stanley decided it was time to go out and dancewith the parade participants. I can't tell if the people watching are entertained or mortified. I do,however, know which I was. The dancer seemed entertained and didn't kill him. Which I guess is a plus.
The little bluegrass band was pretty good. They were having good fun.
And the Fairmont Senior Steel Drum Band kinda closed the parade. They were the last float, followed only by horses and the fire trucks, etc.
Speaking of the horses, here's the guy with the worst job of the entire parade.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. Didn't really hang out for the Festival itself. There were some rides and stuff but nothing that looked overly great. But the parade...well, it was definitely a parade. And the people there...well, they were interesting too. And that was the Strawberry Festival. Definitely worth the trip.