HUNTINGTON — Several events will take place across the state this Sunday as West Virginia celebrates its 158th birthday.
The events will mark the occasion known as West Virginia Day.
The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History plans to host celebrations at several of its sites across the state, including the Culture Center in Charleston, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville and West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling. All events are free to attend and open to the public.
The Culture Center and Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex will be open from 1 to 5 p.m., while West Virginia Independence Hall will be open from noon to 5 p.m.
The Culture Center will include two new exhibits for West Virginia Day, the showing of a new Blenko exhibit in the Great Hall Theater Gallery, with a complete set of Blenko West Virginia Birthday vases, and a new panel exhibit featuring the recent Capitol dome restoration. The West Virginia State Museum’s education room will host activities for the entire family, featured around arts and crafts.
Three new limited-edition Blenko glass pieces will go on sale beginning at 1 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The new pieces include a 2020 limited-edition pitcher and a 2021 limited-edition vase, with 35 of each piece available for $88 per item; and a special Father’s Day mug, which will sell for $60, with 50 available.
Past Blenko pieces also will be for sale until 3 p.m. or when all inventory is exhausted.
In Moundsville, family activities during the day include a craft at the museum’s “Discovery” table, where visitors can show their Mountaineer pride by making “I’m a West Virginia Fan!” fans, which feature an outline of the state that can be colored according to the artist’s imagination.
At Independence Hall in Wheeling at noon, John W. King, a portrayer of Abraham Lincoln, will reenact a reading of Proclamation 100, which admitted West Virginia into the Union. In 2013, King won the “Lincoln Look-Alike Contest” at the Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and has been performing as the president for the past 25 years. Guests will be able to take photos with Lincoln. The hall also will offer birthday cake for guests to celebrate.
In Charleston, Gov. Jim Justice has invited residents to visit the state Capitol, both to celebrate the anniversary and to be present for the first prize giveaway of the “Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” coronavirus vaccination sweepstakes. The event will begin at 1 p.m., with the announcement of the conclusion of indoor face-covering requirements in West Virginia.
Following this will be a special presentation from Justice and Department of Administration Secretary Allen McVey celebrating the completion of renovations to the Capitol’s golden dome.
At 2:30 p.m., Justice will join West Virginia native and Cabell County resident Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient, for a dedication ceremony at the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on the Capitol Complex.
The tradition of cutting the ceremonial state birthday cake will be carried out at 3 p.m. at the Culture Center by the governor and first lady Cathy Justice.
Babydog, the governor’s pet bulldog and the namesake of the vaccine sweepstakes, will be in attendance for the public to meet. A performance for the main ceremony will be provided by the Mountain Stage Band.