Picnic and historical program look back at state history

PARKERSBURG – Rainy skies on Tuesday nearly washed out a West Virginia history program for children at City Park, but a few kids attended the event and learned about the state’s history.

“Kids Celebrate West Virginia” was a picnic and historical program planned at the large shelter and the Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum in City Park by the GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club, along with other activities through this 150th anniversary week for the state of West Virginia.

Barbara Sullivan, chairman of the club’s West Virginia Sesquicentennial Celebration, said only a few children were able to attend Tuesday’s event at City Park due to the weather, but they were able to learn a variety of things about West Virginia’s history and its people.

The children received items like a West Virginia flag and a bookmark featuring the West Virginia Pledge to the Flag, learned about the importance of honeybees – the state’s official insect – from the Mid-Ohio Valley Beekeepers Association and also went on tours of the historic Henry Cooper Log Cabin.

“It is for the children to first learn about West Virginia and why we became a state and learn about some famous West Virginians and to have a fun day in doing so,” Sullivan said of the goal for Tuesday’s event, although the rain halted some of the activities and kept attendance down.

The club has also arranged or helped organize other activities this week to celebrate the West Virginia sesquicentennial, Sullivan said. A photographic display highlighting West Virginia history, “Snapshots in Time: A Photographic History of West Virginia on Display,” went on display Tuesday at the Parkersburg Municipal Building.

An outdoor showing of the movie “October Sky” will be held at 8:45 p.m. today at the Blennerhassett Hotel at Fourth and Market streets. The movie about West Virginia native and author Homer Hickam about his childhood and interest in rockets, which led to his career as an engineer for NASA.

Club members who live in Vienna have been active in organizing sesquicentennial events planned there for Thursday. Those include the Vienna Parade at 10:30 a.m. on Grand Central Avenue and 34th Street to Jackson Memorial Park, speakers at noon and a tree planting at 2 p.m. at the Vienna Community Building.

Sullivan said the club also organized this week’s Music in the Park concert, arranging for a performance by popular Rick K and the Allnighters at 7 p.m. Thursday at the bandshell at City Park. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with pledges to the U.S. and West Virginia flags and recognition of student essay and Golden Horseshoe winners. Cake provided by the city of Parkersburg will be served.