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Saturday, May 18, 2002 -- Buckhannon, WV
2002 Strawberry Festival 1-Mile Run & Walk (iPO Event Id#: 5050)
Story and photos by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Results]

Amy Thomason
Strawberry Festival Queen Amy Thomason
There's something to be said about a festival that has been held annually for over 60 years. Buckhannon, West Virginia's Strawberry Festival conjures up dreamy thoughts, where heaps of ripe strawberries swim in a sea of homemade ice cream topped with fluffy, whipped topping, just waiting for someone to sink their spoon into it. There are images of kings and queens, and their courts, the sound of trumpets blaring as colorful bands march their way down Main Street, and the smell of sweet cotton candy, melting on a stick.

This festival is unique in it's own right, dating all the way back to 1936 when it was first hosted by the Buckhannon Lions Club. This year's events were highlighted by 3 wonderful days of parades, which featured High School bands marching and competing for up to $100,000 in scholarships. Queen-Elect Amy Thomason was officially crowned this year's 2002 Strawberry Queen. The Strawberry Mile was the kick off for the Grand Feature Parade, where Governor Wise showed us all how to kick up our heals.

Gov. Wise
Gov. Wise dances to the music in Buckhannon
With quite a large turnout despite the chilly May weather, the Strawberry Mile wound it's course on the parade route through residential Buckhannon and finished on Main Street. Many participants were decked out in their red festival T-shirts showing their strawberry pride. As hundreds of onlookers lined the streets with their folding chairs, the runners quickly finished. A barrage of tractors, clowns, marching bands, and even WV politicians followed the end of the race.

The police lead the way with their lights flashing. Behind them, there was only one runner that could be seen. Running a fast mile in the cool breeze was Steve Johnson who finished first overall with a time of 4:41. It was a nail biter to the finish line for second as Ben Booth gained on Mark Wilfong. Booth high-stepped it, biting at Wilfong's heals, but it was Wilfong (4:58), who claimed the 2nd place prize in the end by a mere second. Booth finished a very respectable 3rd with a time of 4:59.

Race Pic
The 1-Mile runners clear the parade route
The womenms division was spread out. Rachel Mallory clutched 1st for the ladies in 6 minutes and 3 seconds. Rosanne Siggia-Walker (6:11), finished 2nd and Debbie Goss (6:32), rounded out the top spots.

This festival featured a real Hoe Down, a complete carnival with rides and games, and that's not even a drop in the bucket. If you have never been to the Strawberry Festival, you'll want to check it out next year because it is truly one of West Virginia's finest family treasures.

The Strawberry Festival 1-Mile Run was sponsored by Buckhannon Medical Care and Buckhannon Medical Wellness Center.