City to celebrate state’s birthday

PARKERSBURG – Area residents are invited to a party celebrating the state’s 150th birthday.

The City of Parkersburg, with the help of the Parkersburg Woman’s Club, the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Artsbridge and the Wood County Board of Education, will be celebrating the milestone June 17-23 with various events and programs.

Many of the events will be announced as the city nears West Virginia’s June 20 birthday, said Mayor Bob Newell. Among the planned activities are an essay contest for schools,

The highlight of the week will be a celebration June 20 in Parkersburg City Park with music and cake being served in the pavilion.

Newell said the state’s birthday has special significance to Parkersburg, which has seen many of its residents, past and present, play vital roles in the shaping of West Virginia.

“The state constitution was written at the Swann House in Parkersburg, and the first and second elected governors were from this city,” Newell said. “Additionally, Parkersburg produced the first U.S. senator and the first U.S. congressman.

“In my estimation, Parkersburg is where West Virginia began,” he said.

Newell said the Parkersburg Woman’s Club took the lead on putting together the celebration. Barbara Sullivan, a member of the Parkersburg Woman’s Club and chair of the celebration committee, said other groups and the city have graciously pitched in to expand the scope of the event.

“We came with a couple pages of suggestions thinking Mayor Newell would pick one of them,” she said. “Now we’re on a week-long celebration, so we’re really excited about it.”

Mark Lanyon, executive director of Artsbridge, said the June 20 event will coincide with Artsbridge Summer Music in the Park performance and will feature a West Virginia artist. More details will be announced prior to the celebration.

Mark Lewis, president of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said area officials will be working hard in the coming months to get the word out about the week-long event.

“We are really excited because we believe the recognition of this important time in our history is a great thing,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a great added value to any tourist visiting the area that week, and we are looking forward to getting the word out.”