KINGWOOD — After a rain-drenched start, the skies cleared Friday for the 77th Annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival.
Temperatures hovered in the 60s most of the day, and mud began to dry on the fairgrounds, but the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD), organizers of the event, chose to move the coronation of Queen Ceres and King Buckwheat into the Craig Civic Center, rather than on the soft, wet football field.
West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt crowned Queen Ceres LXXVII Talia Goodwin and King Buckwheat LXXVII Noah Thomas. Leonhardt said “like all good agriculture communities,” Preston lasted through the bad weather to the good.
He thanked all the volunteers who make the festival possible and urged those in attendance to do the same.
“What’s so important about this festival and 77 years is you’re binding your community together, at least once a year, and you’re all celebrating the same thing,” Leonhardt said.
General Chairman Darla Moyers gave the traditional greeting to spectators after the royal pair received their crowns.
“Attention all ye people of the mountain, I present to you Talia Brooke Goodwin, Queen Ceres LXXVII, and Noah Gregory Thomas, King Buckwheat LXXVII. They will reign over the 77th Annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival.”
Moyers also presented the king with the Eugene F. White Memorial Trophy, honoring the late KVFD member and Buckwheat Festival volunteer. Each year the king’s name is added to the trophy, which remains on display at the Kingwood Community Building.
The ceremony opened with Derek Syruws giving the invocation and Tina Strahin singing the national anthem after the Preston High JROTC presented the colors. Janice Crane played the keyboard for the processional, and Tom Dolan was the master of ceremonies.
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