KINGWOOD — The 79th Buckwheat Festival is here and the streets of Kingwood were lined with viewers for the Firemen’s Parade on Thursday night.
About 20 minutes before the parade started, Bill Lindley, a volunteer firefighter for Kingwood since 1966 and member of “a whole slew of committees” said he was excited to be in the parade again.
“(I’m) anxious to see what kind of turnout we had with vehicles and trucks and it’s always fun at the coronation at the end to see who won the prizes,” Lindley said. Prizes are given out in categories such as best truck, small and larger tanker, and judge’s choice.
Lindley said he thinks the fireman’s parade is appropriate since the fire department is the sponsor of the festival and to his knowledge, it’s been a part of the Buckwheat Festival since it started.
There were 24 fire departments represented and seven bands, said firefighter Colby Ware. The Buckwheat King and Queen, royal court, festival organizers, and multiple police departments also took part. Dave Price of Terra Alta Volunteer Fire Department was King Fireman.
The festival started on Tuesday evening for Maid of Honor Kiley Christopher when she brought her market steer to the grounds for a weigh-in and pictures. On Wednesday night her project, Alfie, who weighs 1378, won reserve grand champion for market steer.
Christopher said she was looking forward to showing this year after not taking part in 2020. The nervousness caused by the break faded as soon as she got into the ring.
“I’m just looking forward to this week and excited that it’s actually happening,” she said.
General Chairman of the festival Tarrell Ries was also excited for the festival to kick off.
“I’m pretty excited that we’re actually getting started having the festival, seeing rides going, seeing people eating cakes. It feels good,” Ries said.
For Yvonne and Jeff Nieman, of Cheat Lake, the Buckwheat Festival is a tradition. Yvonne was a Buckwheat Festival princess in 1981.
She said her favorite part of the festival this year was the Cow Palace.
“We have to go and see all the livestock there for sure,” Yvonne said.
“And the buckwheat cakes and sausage is really good up at the community building,” Jeff said. “They were really good. So we come up, we ate first and we just walked around. It’s kind of a tradition.”
If parades or buckwheat cakes aren’t your thing, the festival also features a full-fledged carnival with rides, games, and all the food one would expect such as funnel cakes, deep fried Oreos, fresh squeezed lemonade, kettle korn, and more.
The rides are 11-year-old Destiny Blaney’s favorite part of the festival, she said. Her mom Shawntel, said she likes the festival because it gives her kids something to do.