CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Friday marks a milestone for the state of West Virginia, 151 years of statehood.
This year’s celebration is much smaller than what the state put on during last year’s sesquicentennial. That big birthday lasted four days and was filled with statehood events including three nights of fireworks, a free symphony concert, a parade and dozens of other events.
Caryn Gresham, with the Division of Culture and History, said 2014 will be a more intimate affair, a little less pomp and circumstance and more focused on smaller events.
“Here at the Culture Center we are offering a lot of different free programs that we feel will appeal to children and adults,” explained Gresham.
The fun gets underway Friday morning. You can tour the museum, browse the gift shop or take a look at the history related displays scattered around the building. At 11 a.m. Billy Joe Payton, a West Virginia native and author, will talk about his book ‘Historic Charleston.’ Then at noon, there’s a sweet treat for everyone. First Lady Joanne Tomblin will be on hand to cut a giant birthday cake and sing happy birthday to West Virginia.
“We will have our West Virginia state symbols here so people can take pictures with them. We’ll have a giant birthday card for people to sign. The state archives will be open so people can do a little genealogy or historic research,” according to Gresham.
Activities will also be taking place at the state’s first capital in Wheeling. Reenactors will be on hand and the two capitals will share an event.
“WV Independence Hall along with the Culture Center will be showing the Emmy nominated documentary “The Road to Statehood,” that was produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.”
A highlight of last year’s celebration is making a return. The 3-D movie, “West Virginia 150″ that was projected onto the facade of the state capitol, will be shown in the museum.
The Culture Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.