HURRICANE — On Saturday, children of all ages ran around with a mix of chocolate, fruit juice and different types of frosting on their faces during the sixth annual West Virginia Cupcake Festival.
The event brought dozens of families from all over West Virginia and beyond to Valley Park, in Hurricane, to enjoy handcrafted cupcakes from small businesses and to browse through rows of vendors selling everything from jewelry to organic soap and woodwork.
Kristen Johnson, owner and sole employee at Kristen’s Cake Creations, attended the festival for the second straight year. She brought with her 58 dozen cupcakes in flavors ranging from traditional chocolate and vanilla, to more creative mixes, like snickerdoodle and chocolate peanut butter.
“This is great, and I’m thankful for the support,” Johnson said. “It’s always nice to see small businesses recognized and appreciated.”
Johnson bakes alone out of her home kitchen, in Milton, and said it took her two days to make the hundreds of cupcakes she brought with her to the festival.
“No industrial oven; I cooked four dozen at a time and yeah, it was kind of hot,” she said. “I did make my husband help a little with the cleanup, and he, you know, he put some cookies on top of [the cupcakes].”
Johnson’s work seemed to pay off. By 1:30 p.m. — two and a half hours into the festival — she sold out of five of her 10 types of cupcakes, and only about seven dozen total remained.
She also said people that came to the event last year recognized her, and came back to get another taste or buy another dozen.
“That’s one of the best parts, seeing the work pay off when people went out of their way to find me and take some more,” Johnson said.
Outside, as cupcake vendors like Johnson sold their work, different events throughout the day kept children and their families entertained. The morning started with the Cupcake Chase 5K around the park, and was followed by a cupcake beauty pageant, a cupcake costume contest and a cupcake tasting competition for junior and amateur bakers.
Rick and Helen Workman, from Fraziers Bottom, discovered the festival after Helen Workman searched the internet for events in the area and saw it on Facebook.
“We’d never heard of it before, and it’s right up the road from us,” she said. “I’ll be honest, I like the size of it, and the vendors are all kind, and it’s a family-friendly event. That’s wonderful for this area.”
The Workmans stood outside the venue for the bakers, holding a plastic container of cupcakes that included flavors like dreamsicle, rockin’ raspberry and a gluten free strawberry, to name a few.
Helen Workman said she learned just one lesson for when she comes back next year: “I’m going to bring my own container, that way we can get more.”
Brittany Stewart came to the festival from Proctorville, Ohio, with her two sons, 3-year-old Jackson and 9-month-old Bentley.
As Jackson ran around with a balloon T-Rex, Stewart organized Bentley’s stroller, the bottom filled with a few cupcake containers.
“We didn’t know this park was here, and it’s beautiful,” Stewart said. “We’re making our way around still, but they’re having a good time, as you can see.”
She pointed at Jackson, who was running around the grass holding the string to his balloon like it was a dog on a leash.
“Any day like this you can get out with family, you take it,” Stewart said. “And really, who can say no to some cupcakes?”