Welcome center celebrates W.Va. milestone

WILLIAMSTOWN – Celebrations took place across the state Thursday to celebrate the West Virginia Sesquicentennial including the Welcome Center on Interstate 77 at Williamstown.

Debbie Florence, supervisor at the Williamstown Welcome Center, said a full slate of activities were planned for the day at the Williamstown center.

“Here at our welcome center we will be celebrating the 150th birthday of the state,” she said. “We had a cake cutting and sang Happy Birthday to West Virginia at noon. Our tourism partners came out to help tell our visitors about the state, the celebrations and to have them celebrate with us.

“It’s a great day for West Virginia,” she said.

Several visitors from West Virginia and other places took time to look over the displays and learn about the 150th anniversary.

Nancy James of Statesville, N.C., said she and her husband were on their way north when they stopped at the center.

“We had no idea it was the state’s birthday,” she said. “What they have here is very nice. We just stumbled across this since we just stopped to get a map.”

Florence said the center had the information on all the celebrations. Florence said the center also had displays set up of old time engines, beekeepers, balloon artist and bluegrass music.

West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863, during the Civil War, the only state created during the war. Statewide festivities commenced on Thursday.