A week of ‘Happy birthday, W.Va.’ events

CHARLES TOWN – With the 150th anniversary of West Virginia’s creation on Thursday, a number of special events are planned in the Panhandle and elsewhere in the Mountain State. A look at some of what’s coming up:

  •  Lower Town inside Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Thursday hosts a naturalization ceremony for 20 newly minted Americans. Among the highlights of the 11 a.m. event: James Hayney portraying President Lincoln.
  • Listen at 1:50 p.m. Thursday for a statewide bell-ringing in honor of West Virginia’s 150th birthday – or get out bells of your own to add to the celebration.
  • Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has invited schools, churches and individuals across the state to take part in a special bell ringing. Bells should be rung 35 times to signify West Virginia’s status as the 35th state to enter the Union.
  • The public’s bell ringing will coincide with a bell ringing planned for the Sesquicentennial Celebration to be held on the south steps of the Capitol. Immediately following the ceremony, the governor will cut a birthday cake in the Great Hall of the Culture Center. To learn more about 150th celebration, go to wv150.com.
  • The children’s librarians at the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library have planned a special, all-day craft event and special story time in celebration of the state’s birthday. The free event happens downstairs at the library at 101 W. King St. in Martinsburg. For details, call 304-267-8933.
  • A quilt commemorating West Virginia’s 150th anniversary made its debut this week in a unveiling hosted by first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin. Officials at the Division of Culture and History say more than 70 quilters from across the state worked on the West Virginia State Sesquicentennial Quilt.
  • The quilt squares are made from Civil War-era fabric. Each of the 55 counties is represented by at least one square.
  • The quilt is on display at the Culture Center as part of the Division of Culture and History’s WV150 exhibit. It will join the West Virginia State Museum’s permanent collection after the exhibit ends at the end of the year.
  • The Secretary of State’s office will seal a time capsule Thursday with instructions that it not be opened until June 20, 2063 – the day West Virginia celebrates its bicentennial.
  • The capsule, which includes samples of items vital to the current duties of the Secretary of State, will be locked and securely placed in a vault at the State Capitol. The capsule will hold items such as a handwritten note from Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, sesquicentennial celebration items, pictures of the staff of the Secretary of State’s Office, code books, a directory of lawmakers and an iPhone and other items that show how the office’s day-to-day work is completed. The time capsule will be sealed in a ceremony at 12:45 p.m. Thursday at Tennant’s office.
  • Anyone interested can watch a live webcast of the ceremony on the Secretary of State’s site, wvsos.com.
  • A sesquicentennial lecture, “When Western Virginians Remained Loyal” is planned for Friday in Charleston.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean, the Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University, will present the talk at 10 a.m. in the West Virginia Archives and History Library at the Culture Center. The event is free and open to the public.


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