CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission spent $138,285 for a four-day celebration of the state's 150th anniversary at the Capitol.The largest expense was a 3-D movie, "A Century and a Half of West Virginia Pride," that was projected onto the Capitol facade. The state paid $50,000 of the movie's $175,000 cost. The remainder was paid with private donations collected through WV150 Celebration Inc., a private foundation set for the sesquicentennial, The Charleston Daily Mail reported Thursday.Other expenses included $21,400 for souvenirs, including $9,900 for children's coloring books, about $8,000 for 20,000 commemorative buttons and 20,000 children's glow necklaces, and about $1,500 for stress ball cardinals.The state paid about $9,000 for a four-day birthday party held in the state Culture Center.
The celebration, held June 20-23, also included nightly fireworks, musical entertainment, a parade and a car show.The state paid about $21,000 for musical entertainment, including $5,000 to the West Virginia Symphony, which performed during the opening night's ceremonies. Private donations collected through WV150 Celebration Inc. paid for concerts by Lonestar and Ronnie Milsap.
Another $19,750 was spent for audio equipment, lighting and stage. The parade, which included the percussion group The Katzendrummerz and local ska band The Tom McGees, cost $8,100.The commission also provided $233,000 in grants to other celebrations across the state.Chelsea Ruby, director of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission, said she hopes the 150th anniversary celebration created memories similar to those of the centennial celebrations in 1963."Something that, 50 years from now, people would still be talking about," she said.That's something only time would tell, she said."But I can tell you with great certainty that we put on a set of events that made thousands and thousands of people proud to call themselves West Virginians," she said.