Begun as a homecoming in 1938, Preston County’s annual Buckwheat Festival occurs the last weekend of September in Kingwood. It is one of West Virginia’s oldest local festivals. Held every year except for four years during World War II, the festival has flourished. Named for the crop which was once among the county’s most important, the Buckwheat Festival brings in thousands of people for the four-day event. Historic Hazelton Mill operates only around festival time to grind and bag the flour, which is sold in the region year-round with that from other mills. The buckwheat itself, a hardy cereal once grown on local mountain farms, now comes from elsewhere.
Fair-like with its farm animals, food, blue-ribbon competitions, and carnival atmosphere, the Preston County Buckwheat Festival features three days of parades, the last having as many as 400 units. The crowning of Queen Ceres and King Buckwheat highlights the festival, which is commemorated by an annual first-day postage cancellation. The festival is sponsored by Kingwood’s Volunteer Fire Department, and every Preston County community is represented by participating volunteers. Hundreds of people staff the community building’s kitchen to serve six tons of sausage made from locally raised and locally butchered pork in 20,000 plus buckwheat-cake meals.
This Article was written by Peggy Ross
Last Revised on October 22, 2010