Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin last week announced plans to celebrate West Virginia’s 150th birthday. The celebration, organized by the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission, will take place at the State Capitol Complex beginning on the state’s official birthday, Thursday, June 20, and concluding Sunday, June 23.
“West Virginians still talk about the centennial celebration that took place on the Capitol Steps in 1963. It was a day that made all of us proud to be West Virginians,” Gov. Tomblin said. “This June, our state will turn 150, and I know West Virginians from every corner of the Mountain State will be filled with pride as we celebrate our big day. The events at the State Capitol will be something you won’t want to miss.”
The birthday celebration will kick off with a statewide bell ringing on Thursday, June 20 at 1:50 p.m. The governor will be in Charleston to ring a bell as a part of a ceremony to celebrate the state’s last 150 years. That evening, an outdoor symphony concert will be held on the Capitol lawn. Following the concert, West Virginia history will be brought to life in a special three-dimensional film that will be projected directly onto the face of the State Capitol building. The video will conclude with a Zambelli fireworks show launched from the roof of the Capitol.
The celebration will continue throughout the weekend. Saturday morning, the Commission will partner with FestivALL to host a parade which will end at the State Capitol where a day-long festival complete with family friendly events will continue into the evening. The celebration will be spread across the Capitol grounds and will include outdoor concerts, a vintage car show, the Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-Off, elements of the Vandalia Gathering, history lectures, Civil War re-enactors, sternwheeler rides, West Virginia food and craft vendors, and a giant birthday cake for all to enjoy. Saturday evening, the Capitol building will come to life with another showing of the 3-D film followed by another huge Zambelli fireworks show.
The 3-D films, custom-crafted for projection onto the surfaces of iconic landmarks without a screen, are a cutting-edge art form and have become a worldwide sensation. They have headlined marquee events such as the Queen’s Jubilee, where a 3-D film was projected onto Buckingham Palace, and New Year’s Eve in New York City, where the “screen” was the legendary Saks Fifth Avenue. This production will be the first of its kind in West Virginia.
To view the full schedule of events, visit the website at www.wv150.com.