fireworks, concerts, movies and ceremonies. It will all start in May and ramp
up to high gear June 18 to the 22. It's a unique celebration of a unique state,
the only one born like this. West Virginia.
"The thing I like about
our state is it's the only state truly born out of the Civil War but most
importantly it was the only state formed by presidential proclamation," said
West Virginia Culture & History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith.
Historians say the
father of West Virginia, Francis Harrison
Pierpont, was considered a trouble maker.
"I mean their lives were
in real jeopardy at the time. It wasn't fun and games," said Margaret Brennan. "Pierpont,
they wanted to take him back and put him in a Richmond Jail."
Music will be a huge
part of the sesquicentennial. A riverfront symphony concert will unveil a piece
of music made for the occasion.
"The Wheeling Symphony
has commissioned an important American composer, Kenneth Fuchs, to write a work
especially for the occasion. And so that piece, ‘Forever Free,' will have it's
world premier June 20," said Maestro Andre Raphel of the Wheeling Symphony.
There will be a giant
birthday cake, a 35-gun salute and a Civil War ball. That week, the state
legislature will hold its June Interim meetings in Wheeling and they'll get a
whirlwind tour of Ohio and Marshall Counties.
"We want the Legislature
to really get a chance to see some of the businesses, oil and gas, the medical
community so we've actually set up subcommittee meetings in a number of those
buildings," said Executive Director of the Wheeling CVB, Frank O'Brien.
"This is a great opportunity for people all across the state to come and see where it all happened 150 years ago," said Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie.