CHARLESTON, W.Va.– West Virginia celebrated its 155th birthday Wednesday, and people from all around the state gathered at the Culture Center to celebrate.

Jordyn Johnson/

People gathered in the Culture Center to celebrate West Virginia.

Following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, after the American Civil War had started, West Virginia became the 35th state of the United States. West Virginia was admitted into the Union on June 20, 1863, and has continued to grow since then.

Citizens from all around filled the Culture Center and many wanted to share why they had so much love for the place they call home.

Laurie Good-Burdette of South Charleston attended the birthday celebration with a child she babysits who had never been before. She said she loves West Virginia because of how welcoming its people are.

“It’s the people– the people make the state,” she said. “It’s always good to go away, but it’s even better to come back.”

Good-Burdette wasn’t alone in thinking that the people are something special about West Virginia.

Greg Stewart is from Cross Lanes and, and he said he thinks the people are unique.

“I’m a native of the state, so I was raised in the community of West Virginia, and I just think that West Virginia people are some of the friendliest, most hospitable people you can find,” he said.

Jordyn Johnson/

Governor Jim Justice came to the Culture Center to celebrate West Virginia.

Many children came out to celebrate, too, and their love for their home isn’t kid-sized.

“It’s a really nice state with a lot of open, grass fields not a lot of cities, and it’s just really nice overall,” Ethan Chill, a younger attendee at the event, said.

Shaniya Himes came with her great-aunt Carol Johnson-Cyrus to enjoy cake and music held at the birthday celebration. Himes said West Virginia has a lot of beauty.

“I like the mountains, the trees and the beautiful flowers here,” she said. “I also like having my family here.”

Himes’s great-aunt said that she appreciates the state’s deep roots with faith.

“I love West Virginia because our family foundation is based on religion. I think we’re a state of strong faith,” she said. “I think we have a love of mankind. We have a love of nature, but, most of all, we love God, and we know no strangers.”

Governor Jim Justice spoke at the event and expressed his love for the state he represents, too.

“There’s no question the reason that I love West Virginia are its people. It is, without any doubt, the most beautiful state, and we have so many opportunities from all of our natural resources, to the location and we have unbelievable seasons,” he said. “What makes us great is just the fact that we care for one another.”

Story by Jordyn Johnson

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