Store owner: We are going to lose a lot of good fun and revenue
KINGWOOD — In only the second time in history, Preston County’s Buckwheat Festival is canceled.
The first time was for four years during World War II.
This time it’s due to a worldwide pandemic.
The cancellation will have a definite impact on Preston County businesses.
Kingwood Mayor Jean Guillot, who owns The Preston County Inn in Kingwood, said the cancellation will be devastating to the community.
“It’s our biggest week of the year,” Guillot said. “We have some of the same people who come every year, artisans and people who grew up here.
“We sell buckwheat cakes all that month,” Guillot continued. “Canceling the Buckwheat Festival will impact us but I believe it was a wise decision. The fire department’s first priority is the safety of their volunteers and the public.”
Screech Owl Brewery owner and head brewer Roger Johnson said the recent outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in him closing his business.
He said with the infection rate climbing in Preston County and the cancellation of the Buckwheat Festival, he will not reopen until after July 4.
Johnson said he closed after one of his employees tested positive for COVID-19. He said no customers were exposed.
“We’ve laid off all of our employees but family,” Johnson said.
Beth Peddicord of Preston Silver Eagle said the closing of the Buckwheat Festival is “very devastating.”
Peddicord, along with her husband, Robby, owns Preston Silver Eagle beer distributors and the new Appalachian Hotel, west of Kingwood.
She said the hotel was booked for the Buckwheat Festival.
“We’re going to be opening but we don’t have a date yet,” Peddicord said. “V.J. [Davis, director of the Preston County Health Department] came and walked it with us.”
She said the hotel is equipped with both UV wands and electrostatic sprays.
Jimmy Maier, owner of Monroe’s Restaurant in Kingwood, said canceling the Buckwheat Festival will have a negative effect on his and other businesses.
“It’s been going on for a lot of years and brings in a lot of people,” he said. “We are going to lose a lot of good fun and revenue.”
Russ Goines, owner of Russ’ Ribs in Kingwood, said even though the cancellation will effect his business, he applauds KVFD for its decision.
“They made a good and courageous move,” he said. “I applaud them. It’s a different world out there.”
Goines said so far he has had four weddings canceled, plus other events and catering due to concerns about COVID-19.
“How do you plan anything? You can’t,” he said. “I’m just glad we don’t have the congestion they have in big cities like California and Texas.”