CHARLESTON — West Virginia reached its 150th year of statehood today and marking the event will be celebrations all across the state.
The largest celebration, spanning four days, will be held in Charleston and will begin with a Sesquicentennial Ceremony on the south steps of the State Capitol. The Ceremony will include the dedication of a new United States Postal Service stamp commemorating West Virginia’s 150th birthday. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Joe Manchin, Thomas J. Marshall of United States Postal Service, and members of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission will join Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for this tribute to West Virginia.
A statewide bell ringing will begin at 1:50 p.m., today to coincide with a bell ringing at the State Capitol during the Sesquicentennial Ceremony. Tomblin has invited schools, churches, and individuals across the state to participate in a bell ringing in honor of West Virginia’s 150th birthday.
“This bell ringing provides our citizens with an opportunity to collectively celebrate and reflect on West Virginia’s 150th birthday,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Although, we may be located in different regions of the state, this will join all of us together as we commemorate the state’s birthday and officially kick-off this historic celebration.”
Bells should be rung 35 times to signify West Virginia’s status as our nation’s 35th state.
Following the bell-ringing, Tomblin will cut a giant birthday cake in the Great Hall of the Culture Center.
The main cake, a detailed replica of the State Capitol building, is 8 feet long, more than 3 feet tall, and decorated with nearly 900 pounds of fondant icing. Over 15,000 pieces of birthday cake will be served Thursday-Saturday in the Great Hall.
“This is a big birthday for the State of West Virginia, so we’re having a cake that fits the occasion,” said Governor Tomblin. “Joanne and I are looking forward to enjoying it with West Virginians from all corners of the state. Come hungry!”
The structure underlying the Capitol replica was built by a father-and-son team of Culture Center employees, David and Darren Husband. The detailed icing and baking was done by Sara Lane of Cross Lanes.
A schedule of events to be held in Charleston is:
Thursday, June 20
• U.S. Postal Service unveils the West Virginia 150th birthday stamp on the State Capitol steps at 1:50 p.m.
• The Civil War - the Broadway musical*, performed by the Charleston Light Opera Guild at the Culture Center Theater, State Capitol, at 4 p.m.
• Outdoor Concert by the WV Symphony Orchestra and The Appalachian Children’s Chorus on the State Capitol steps at 7:30 p.m.
• World-Famous Zambelli Fireworks at the State Capitol steps at 10 p.m.
Friday, June 21
• The Civil War - the Broadway musical* by the Charleston Light Opera Guild Culture Center Theater at the State Capitol at 7 p.m.
• World-Famous Zambelli Fireworks at State Capitol steps at 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 22
• Free Sternwheeler Rides* at Haddad Riverfront Park from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Rides depart on the hour
• WV150 History & Art Parade* on the Kanawha Boulevard - Downtown to the State Capitol beginning at 10 a.m.
• WV150 Family Fun Celebration; Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-Off*; Sesquicentennial Classic Car Cruise-In; Live Music from West Virginia Artists*;- Food and Craft Vendors; Civil War Re-enactors; Vandalia Gathering; Activities for Kids and a Giant Birthday Cake at the State Capitol Complex. Fun starts at 10 a.m.
• The Civil War - the Broadway musical*, by the Charleston Light Opera Guild at the Culture Center Theater, State Capitol at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• Lonestar and Ronnie Milsap, live in concert on the State Capitol steps at 6:30 p.m.
• World-Famous Zambelli Fireworks on the State Capitol steps at 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 23
• The Civil War - the Broadway musical* by the Charleston Light Opera Guild at the Culture Center Theater, State Capitol, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Items marked with an asterisk (*) means “In partnership with FestivALL Charleston”.