Events planned for W.Va.’s birthday

PARKERSBURG – A number of events are planned this week in the Parkersburg area to celebrate the 150th anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood.

* The activities will begin with a photographic exhibit called “Snapshots in Time,” which will be on display in the Parkersburg Municipal Building this week, from Monday through Friday between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day.

The photographic exhibit is sponsored by the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club, which will also be doing other activities through the week. On Tuesday, “Kids Celebrate West Virginia” will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at City Park near the Henry Cooper Log Cabin, with tours of the cabin, games and activities for ages 6-12. An outdoor showing of the film “October Sky” will be 8:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Blennerhassett Hotel on Market Street.

* A program on the West Virginia Constitution will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday in the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue.

It will be presented by West Virginia state constitution scholar and West Virginia University College of Law professor Robert Bastress. The program is titled “The Making of the West Virginia Constitutions: 1861-1872.” The Wood County Historical Society is the local sponsor of the program which is free and open to the public.

The writing of a constitution was an essential step toward the creation of the new state. Delegates relied on the Virginia constitution but made several significant reforms to address inequalities that had long provoked Western Virginians. A second constitutional convention was later held in Charleston in 1871.

Bastress, one of the leading scholars of the West Virginia state constitution, will discuss how the new state’s framers chose the structure for its government.

* On Tuesday, a presentation titled “The Birth of West Virginia” will be presented by local historican Dave McKain at 6:30 p.m. in the Judge Black Annex on Fifth Street.

McKain will speak about Parkersburg’s involvement in the formation of West Virginia and a reception will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Oil and Gas Museum at 119 Third St. in Parkersburg.

* The Williamstown Welcome Center will have a birthday celebration from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday at the center off Interstate 77 at Williamstown.

The program will include exhibits and demonstrations by local tourism partners, regional points of interest and local businesses. There will also be live bluegrass music, refreshments and a birthday cake at noon.

* Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park will also hold its annual West Virginia Day Celebration on Thursday on the island.

The island activities will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday with a concert by two boys quartets from the Smoot Theatre. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a presentation by park historian Ray Swick followed by cake and ice cream on the island. Local musician Scott Cain will perform on the mountain dulcimer during the program.

All of the island’s attractions will be open and there will be games like corn hole, croquet, graces and hoops and sticks.

Blennerhassett Island will continue its activities on Friday with a living history presentation sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Joseph Bundy of Bluefield will portray African-American Civil War officer Martin Delaney in a program on Blennerhassett Island as part of the History Alive! program.

Delaney was born in Charles Town and his family moved to Pennsylvania when his mother was threatened with imprisonment for allowing her children to learn to read and write. He became a leader in the anti-slavery movement and a superintendent of the Underground Railroad. Delaney was a recruiter for the U.S. Colored Troops and in 1865 became the first black field officer when he was commission as a major.

* The city of Vienna will be holding several activities on Thursday to mark West Virginia Day.

Vienna will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a parade on Grand Central Avenue and 34th Street to the Vienna Community Building in Jackson Memorial Park. At noon, city officials will speak about the history of West Virginia Day, along with songs and other speakers.

Cake and punch will be served inside the Vienna Community Building. Church bells will ring at 1:50 p.m., followed by a tree planting by the Vienna senior citizens at 2 p.m.

* Local historian Bob Enoch will bring five local musicians to the Pleasantview Towers Community Room at 1205 Ninth St. in Vienna for a program called “History and Music of West Virginia.”

The program will be 2 p.m. Thursday and admission is free. The program is sponsored by the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society.

* In Ripley, Main Street Ripley will hold a “WV 150 Years Old” celebration from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 22 at the Jackson County Courthouse. The event will feature music by Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys, along with cake and ice cream.

* In Parkersburg, as part of the annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival from June 21-23 at City Park, West Virginia musician Mick Souter will present “Celebrate! West Virginia” at noon June 22.

Souter’s performance is a musical and narrative journey that ranges from the original Native American tribes, early explorers and settlers, to the state’s Civil War beginnings, to railroad builders, coal miners, and hard-working mountaineers with songs celebrating mountains, rivers, and the spirit of the people of West Virginia.

* Veterans Memorial Park, located on West Virginia 31 near the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, will host a number of Civil War activities on June 22 and 23, hosted by Carlin’s Battery D.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. June 22 at a play called “The Breaking of Bread” and the opening of the Civil War camps. An Infantry/Cavalry tactical will be 3 p.m., a Ladies Victorian Tea at 4 p.m. and a Civil War Ball at 8 p.m.

The day’s activities will also included re-enactors Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, portrayed by Doug Riley of Tunnelton, W.Va., General Albert Jenkins, portrayed by John Belcher of Hurricane, and General John McCausland, portrayed by Dennis Carder, of Elizabeth.

On June 23, the camps will open at 10 a.m. and a Civil War era church service will be 10:30 a.m. At noon, President and Mrs. Lincoln will make an appearance, portrayed by John and Marion King, with Don Geibel as Arthur I. Boreman, West Virginia’s first governor.

There will also be a skirmish at 3 p.m. June 23 with the troops.

* Re-enactors portraying Arthur I. Boreman, West Virginia’s first governor, and President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln will be featured at 2 p.m. June 23 on the steps of the Wood County Courthouse in downtown Parkersburg.