Festival season launches with a roar and a drone of bagpipes

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May is strawberry season, West Virginia Strawberry Festival
W.Va. Strawberry Festival: May 10-18, Buckhannon, W.Va.

Festival season in West Virginia launches in earnest in May and doesn’t end until the weather grows too cold to support outdoor activities again in November. May 2014 is no exception. The W.Va. Division of tourism is helping us provide a list of some of the best festivals in the Mountain State this year, to be published as a bi-monthly feature at West Virginia Explorer.  Are you in charge of a May festival you’d like to see listed here? Please use the Contact Us form to let our editorial team know more.

Rally in the Valley: May 1-4
Williamson, West Virginia (Mingo County)

In its third year, the Rally in the Valley now attracts more than 15,000 motocyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts to the lower Tug Valley in Kentucky and West Virginia. Hundreds of miles of winding roads in the Cumberland Mountains echo with the roar of bikes. The four-day event features food, entertainment, and 43 merchandise vendors. For more information, call 304-235-5240 or 606-625-6850 or visit its Facebook page.

Scottish Festival & Celtic Gathering: May 2-4
Bridgeport City Park
Bridgeport, West Virginia (Harrison County)

The thirteenth annual festival of higlands culture at Bridgeport will feature three days of exhibits and competitions and will include Scottish foods and crafts, clan and geneology representatives,living history programs, and Scottish dance and music programs. Sanctioned athletic, bagpipe, highland and dance competitions will highlight the programs. For more information, call 304-677-6425 or visit Scots West Virginia.

Franklin Spring Fest: May 2-4
Franklin, West Virginia (Pendleton County)

The annual celebration of spring and life on the South Branch at Franklin features traditional town fair activities and events, including a food and crafts vendors,a car show, a box-car derby, a cornholw tournament, and a Trout Rodeo. For more information, visit PendletonCountyWV.org or call 304-358-3884.

Engines & Wheels Festival: May 3
North Bend State Park
Cairo, West Virginia (Ritchie County)

The tenth annual exhibition of antique mechanisms employed in the development of local farms and the oil fields will be hosted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature enthusiasts on hand to discuss their operation. An antique car cruise-in and craft vendors, demonstrations, and outdoor grill concessions are included. For more information, visit NorthBendSP.com or call 304-643-2931.

Heritage Farm Spring Festival: May 3
Heritage Farm Museum & Village
Huntington, West Virginia (Cabell County)

Participate in demonstrations of blacksmithing, sheep shearing, timber sawing, glass blowing, pottery making, wood working, printing. Food will also be available for purchase. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 2 through 12 years old.. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit HeritageFarmMuseum.com or call 304-522-1244.

Shawnee Spring Gathering: May 3
Krodel Park
Point Pleasant, West Virginia (Mason County)

An inter-tribal gathering nea the sacred confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, the Shawnee Spring Gathering features native drumming and dancing, and vendors including descendants. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 304-417-6158 or 304-675-7933.

Watoga Wildflowers: May 3
Watoga State Park
Marlinton, West Virginia (Pocahontas County)

Join park staff at Watoga Cabin No.1 to discover the blooming wonders of the upper valley of the Greenbrier River. The walk begins at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit Watoga.com or call 304-799-4087.

Antique Gas Engine Show: May 3-4
W.Va. State Farm Museum
Point Pleasant, West Virginia (Mason County)

Displays of small engines, a working sawmill, and antique tractors highlight the exhibitions held in more than 30 historical historic buildings at W.Va. State Farm Museum near Point Pleasant. Event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit WVFarmMuseum.org or call 304-675-5737.

Rendezvous on the River: May 7-10
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
Parkersburg, West Virginia (Wood County)

Authentic campsites and demonstrations of camp life and period dress will be featured on Blennershassett for their annual spring rendezvous. For more information, visit BlennerhassettIslandStatePark.com or call 304-420-4800.

Wildflower Pilgrimage: May 8-11
Blackwater Falls State Park
Davis, West Virginia (Tucker County)

Specialists will be on hand from Brooks Bird Club, the W.Va.Garden Club, W.Va. Division of Natural Resources, and from West Virginia University and various colleges to help identify flora and fauna durining tours to area natural wonders Friday and Saturday. Registration is required in advance, and the weekend is offered as a packaged deal. For more information, email wendy.l.green@wv.gov or call 304-558-2754.

Bluegrass Festival: May 9-11
North Bend State Park
Cairo, West Virginia (Ritchie County)

Celebrate two decades of Bluegrass performed live at North Bend State Park, and lose yourself in the rhythm of the music and traditional sounds of our Appalachian heritage. Overnight packages will be available for the lodge, cabins, and campground. For more information, visit NorthBendSP.com or call 304-643-2931.

Ranson Festival: May 10
Ranson, West Virginia (Jefferson County)

The 13th annual celebration of life in the Town of Ranson in the Shenandoah Valley includes traditional small-town festival food and entertainment. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit RansonWV.us or call 304-724-3862.

Bramwell Spring Tour: May 10
Bramwell, West Virginia (Mercer County)

The historic homes of coal barons in the Bramwell National Historic District are open for public tours on the second Saturday in May. Interpreters are stationed at each site to help guests explore the history of this industrial boomtown. Hours are 2 -5 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased at the Bramwell Presbyterian Church on the day of the tour. Foir more information, visit VisitBramwell.com or call 304-248-8381.

Irish Road Bowling: May 10
Kanawha State Forest
Charleston, West Virginia (Kanawha County)

An ancient game played on rural roads in Ireland, road bowling, or Long Bullets, is become a tradition on country roads in West Virginia. The W.Va. Irish Road Bowling will host an open competion in the state forest, registration for which begins at 12:20 p.m. Bowling begins at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit WVIrishRoadBowling.com or contact Stephen Wallington at 304-638-3224.

W.Va. Strawberry Festival: May 10-18
Buckhannon, West Virginia (Upshur County)

The 73rd-annual W.Va. Strawberry Festival celebrates the traditional harvest of the Fragaria ananassa in northern West Virginia. The week-long, family-style festival includes parades, pageants, competitions, a carnival, and live entertainment, and culminates in huge block parties featuring live entertainment on Main Street on Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, visit WVStrawberryFestival.com or call 304-472-9036.