KINGWOOD — School and Community Day was celebrated Friday at the 78th Preston County Buckwheat Festival as its king and queen received their crowns.
West Virginia University Rifle Coach Jon Hammond was the coronation official for Queen Ceres LXXVIII Madeline Warnick and King Buckwheat LXXVIII Hunter Thomas.
Though the ceremony was held indoors, sunshine and moderate temperatures prevailed outside. Festivities continue today with Farmer’s Day.
It was Hammond’s first Buckwheat Festival, but he said it was, “definitely a great experience.” A native of Scotland, Hammond said that West Virginia’s hills, countryside, agriculture, and culture remind him of his homeland and make him feel at home.
“The values that we have as a team revolve around hard work, being humble in what we do but also being a family and really supporting each other,” Hammond said. “And I think a lot of those things are not only represented in this state but here in this festival today.”
He congratulated the festival court on the work they had to do to achieve the honor.
“It’s to me very fascinating but incredibly admirable,” he said. If they keep those same values of hard work, family and dedication, they will succeed as they continue in life, Hammond said.
“We celebrate the gifts of community, family and friendship. This festival reminds us of the rich tradition and the faith that has been passed on to us,” the Rev. Andrew M. Switzer said during his invocation,
The focus, he said, should be on the youth of the festival.
“Our hope in them gives us promise of a bright future. May this time remind us that what unites us is stronger than what divides. And may our youths’ intelligence, gifts and talents build for us a better county, country and world.”
General Chairman David Brown said festival royalty “represent the best that Preston County has to offer.”
Karen Bright sang the national anthem, and the colors were presented by the Preston High JROTC.
The coronation was held inside the Craig Civic Center, rather than at the Kingwood football field, because the bleachers at the field have been condemned.