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W.Va. Day marked locally with crowd, party at Pullman Square

Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- There was no need to remind the hundreds of people at Pullman Square on Thursday night that there was a big party in town, let alone the entirety of the Mountain State.

They all were there for exactly that party to celebrate West Virginia Day, the sesquicentennial edition, during a special version of the Pullman Square Summer Concert Series.

Mary Bridgett of Huntington was one such mountaineer partier at the event.

She and her husband never miss a Pullman performance, but she said Thursday's holiday made the outing all the more special.

"It's absolutely wonderful," said Bridgett. "There's no place in the world like West Virginia. I moved out of state one time, and I moved right back because nowhere else compares to here."

In talking to participants at the concert, most were able to agree on two things about the state: The people are friendly, and they love those West Virginia hills.

"I live in Chesapeake, but my daughter moved to Fayetteville, (W.Va.), a few years ago," said LaDonna Hunter, who grew up in Huntington. "I love to go there and see her and my grandchildren because it is so beautiful down there. I love it. I love the scenery. You don't get that anywhere else."

Another thing you don't see anywhere else, according to Marty and David Insco of Huntington is such a high caliber of people.

"The people are honest, and they are friendly," said David Insco. "The people, the tradition, the history -- all of that makes West Virginia unique."

Even as she enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the downtown party, Sherry Wallace of Huntington said the pace of living in West Virginia perfectly suits her, her husband and her two grandchildren who come from Tennessee each summer to stay with them.

"It's a slower pace of living," said Wallace. "People here are friendly, and I think other parts of the country are starting to notice."

Untold numbers of people certainly participated in the festivities in the greater Huntington area -- even those who simply took the time to enter the state and take a break at the I-64 East Welcome Center in Huntington. There, passers-by were treated to cupcakes, demonstrations and giveaways from the likes of the Army Corps of Engineers, The Huntington Museum of Art, Ace White Water Rafting, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort and Huntington's Museum of Radio and Technology.

Deeper into Huntington, the historic Maddie Carrol House in the Guyandotte neighborhood hosted a 150th birthday celebration during which Civil War re-enactors provided historical perspective on the occasion.

The Cabell County Republican Executive Committee also put its own historical spin on the day with its own Sesquicentennial Celebration on Thursday evening complete with members of the West Virginia Military Academy and the Lizzie Cabell Finishing School for Young Ladies as well as local music, Stewart's Hotdogs, face painting, mayor Steve Williams and other political leaders.

And, for the past eight years, Huntington resident Wayne Worth has celebrated West Virginia day by making a life-size birthday card and taking the card to the corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street to wave at motorists. Worth said that is his way of commemorating the event.

"I believe when we celebrate one's birthday, we celebrate one's history," said Worth.