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10 things to know about the W.Va. Sesquicentennial

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

CHARLESTON -- A look at facts and events surrounding West Virginia's 150th birthday celebration:

1. BORN OF DISCORD

West Virginia is the only state to secede from a Confederate state. After Virginia voted to secede from the Union in 1861, West Virginia began a two-year process of seceding from Virginia and became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

2. ALMOST HEAVEN, ALLEGHANY?

Kanawha was the original name proposed for the state but it failed to gain enough votes during the First Constitutional Convention in December 1861. Other suggestions that also failed were Alleghany, Augusta, Columbia, New Virginia and Western Virginia.

3. BELL RINGING

It isn't a sesquicentennial celebration until someone's bell gets rung. There was a statewide bell-ringing ceremony at 1:50 p.m. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will participate at the Capitol.

4. A KENNEDY SPEAKS

President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at the Capitol in Charleston for West Virginia's 100th birthday celebration in 1963. His nephew, Mark Kennedy Shriver, is scheduled to speak in Wheeling on Thursday night during a sesquicentennial event.

5. HONEST ABE

President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill in December 1862 approving West Virginia's creation as a pro-Union state. A traveling exhibit "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," opens at West Virginia University's Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown on Saturday.

6. GOOD TIMES, GOOD WEATHER

The forecast is favorable for outdoor celebrations, and there are many. Little or no rain is expected through Saturday with highs statewide in the 80s.

7. WHO WANTS CAKE?

From cupcakes at interstate welcome centers to an 8-foot long replica of the state Capitol that served 15,000 visitors to Charleston, there was cake for everyone at numerous venues across the state.

8. LEGAL HOLIDAY

In 1927, the West Virginia Legislature recognized the state's birthday as a legal holiday. Before that, West Virginia Day was celebrated informally.

9. 3-D SHOW

Monster Media of Orlando, Fla., is producing a three-dimensional light show that will be projected across the state Capitol facade Thursday through Saturday nights.

10. FIREWORKS!

The skies will light up with scheduled fireworks displays through Saturday night in Berkeley Springs, Bridgeport, Charleston, Fairlea, Summersville and Wheeling.

-- The Associated Press

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