The West Virginia Cupcake Festival, a yearly celebration of everyone’s favorite sweet confection, was held Friday and Saturday, August 27 and 28, at Valley Park in Hurricane. Previously a one-day event, this year’s festival was spread out over the course of two days. Due to COVID, there was no Cupcake Festival last year.
Cupcake vendors from all around the state set up shop in the convention center, offering thousands of cupcakes in dozens of delicious flavors. While Friday evening was the big day for cupcake sellers, there were still plenty of cupcake booths set up on Saturday, which featured craft and other vendors as well as bakeries and caterers.
One of Friday’s featured events was the Cupcake Classic Cruise-in, which was held on the parking lot near the convention center. This annual cruise-in features a variety of cars, from antique vehicles to more modern ones. People’s Choice winners of the Cupcake Classic were 1st Place – Hailey Saxton; 2nd Place – Adam Jackson; 3rd Place – Will Foertsch. Kids’ Choice winners were 1st Place – Jim Smith; 2nd Place – Charlie Brown; 3rd Place – Dale Myers. Queen’s Choice winners were 1st Place – Jim Smith; 2nd Place – Donald Parsons; 3rd Place – Rollin’. Festival’s Choice winners were 1st Place – Donald & Jill Ennis; 2nd Place – William Sheets Jr.; and 3rd Place – Skip Burdette.
The Pupcake Pageant was also held on Friday evening, and featured divisions for Best Costume, Cutest, Prettiest, Most Handsome, Best Trick, 2nd Runner Up, 1st Runner Up, and Grand Champion. Many cute canines were entered in the contest, some in costumes and some without. The overall Grand Champion was Harley Sue, who is owned by Kirsten Conrad of St. Albans.
Other entertainment on Friday included singing by Mia Grace Bailey and a showing of “Lilo & Stitch” on an inflatable outdoor projection screen.
Saturday morning started off the “Sweetest Race Around” – the Cupcake Chase 5K. This 5K differs somewhat from other popular 5K walk/runs around the area, as participants can decorate a cupcake along the route. These cupcakes are then judged at the end of the event.
Winners of the Cupcake Chase 5K included Best Overall Male – Jeremy Wolfe; Best Overall Female – Brittanee Anania; and Stroller Division – Hannah Ratcliff. Winners of the Cupcake Decorating Contest included Best Overall Male – Bradley Dunkle; Best Overall Female – Jennifer Welker; Best Decorated Cupcake – Mary Lewis; and Spirit Award – Julie Gamponia and Jessica Wright. The winner of the Cupcake Costume Contest was Waylan Johnson.
While the adult and teenaged WV Cupcake Festival Royalty were chosen back in June, pageants for younger children were held throughout Saturday morning and afternoon on the stage outside the convention center. Winners included Tennie Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Gwendolyn Cherry; 1st Runner Up – Lila LeMaster; Winner – BlakLee Nelson. Baby Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Danielle Miller; 1st Runner Up – Tatum Blankenship; Winner – Evelyn Martin. Toddler Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Ily Saunders; 1st Runner Up – Elaine Dressel; Winner – Anastasia Riggs. Tiny Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Skyy Leek; 1st Runner Up – Kinsley Cool; Winner – Claire Diesenberg. Little Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Emory Pickens; 1st Runner Up – Brylee Arrington; Winner – Ella Grant. Junior Miss Cupcake: 2nd Runner Up – Milah Deweese; 1st Runner Up – Saylor Page; Winner – Karly Hilliard. Little Mister Cupcake: 1st Runner Up – Ryker Conn; Winner – Thomas Neil. Mister Cupcake Winner – Nolan Wilcoxen.
Saturday’s Amateur Cupcake Competition required contestants to enter candy or fruit flavored cupcakes. Kristen Tucker of Hurricane won Best Tasting Candy Inspired, and Cindy Martin of Cross Lanes won both Best Tasting Fruit Filled and Best Decorated.
In the Professional Cupcake Competition, vendors competed against each other to create the best tasting cupcake incorporating apple butter. Taraific Cakes of Ravenswood won Best Tasting both this year and in 2019, and Mia’s Market Confections of Charleston won Queen’s Choice Best Decorated.
Judges for the cupcake competitions included Ally Harper, Miss West Virginia Cupcake; Robby Vanater, owner of Drip Coffee; Justin Williams, Park Director; Leo Lopez, Boy Scouts; Dave Allen of WCHS; and Brooke Ashby, WVU Mountaineer Mascot alternate. Tabulators were Allie Luikart, Mrs. West Virginia Cupcake, and Megan Crow, Mrs. West Virginia Cupcake Megan Crow.
One of the last events on Saturday was the Cupcake Eating Contest. Les Maynard of Wayne was the Defending Champion from 2019, and won this year’s contest as well.
The West Virginia Cupcake Festival, which started in 2014, is a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. This is a network of 170 hospitals throughout the United States and Canada that treat sick children. West Virginia’s own Children’s Miracle Network affiliated hospital is WVU Medicine Children’s in Morgantown.