How to Celebrate West Virginia's 151st Birthday
I crawled out of bed this morning at 4:30.
I'm not bragging, I had to come in to host the morning newscasts and West Virginia Morning.
But I woke up feeling good. 'It's West Virginia Day, after all' I thought to myself as I was getting ready, doing my best not to crawl back into bed and wind up late for work.
I can't lie, the first thought as I was waking up wasn't how to solve the state's problems, or how to get West Virginia out of dead last in many national rankings.
Honestly, my first thought was how terribly I wished I could stop by Tudor's Biscuit World and grab a Thundering Herd or a Ron on my way into work. Nothing would be more West Virginian of me while starting my day.
Sadly, though, the Tudor's on the East End of Charleston opens at 5:30. I was in the newsroom prepping newscasts just after 5.
On days like today when I fill in for news director Beth Vorhees, I get the opportunity to watch the world wake up. It comes to life in a stream of social media posts as people start their days. It's strange sometimes, but today it has been awfully fun and rather sentimental.
Today, the beautiful state where I was born, raised, and where I still reside is 151 years old. And even though she has her issues, I think she still looks pretty good.
And since we still have a full day ahead of us, here are some ideas on how to celebrate our home, West Virginia:
Swing by the Culture Center in Charleston
Check out some of the exhibits they're launching. If you missed last year's 3-D projection onto the Capitol, you'll want to check it out in the theater downstairs of that building.
For the next 10 days, Charleston will become a melting pot of arts and culture with FestivALL. Everything from live music, to performance art, art workshops and fairs and more. Might as well get out and get started today.
Learn Some West Virginia History
You could celebrate by immersing yourself in the state's rich history, through documentaries like last year's radio special West Virginia 150: Commemorating Statehood or the Emmy-nominated television piece West Virginia: The Road to Statehood.
Drink a Locally Brewed Beer
West Virginia's craft brew industry has grown significantly in recent years. Festivals like Mountain State Brewing Company's Brew Skies Festival, or Huntington's Rales & Ales are still a few weeks away. But, there's plenty of places all over the state to enjoy a great, locally brewed craft beer. Some of my favorites include:
- Bridge Brew Works (Fayetteville) - Long Point Lager
- Charleston Brewing Company - Mountain Stage Ale
- The North End Tavern (Parkersburg) - 5-Way IPA
- Mountain State Brewing Co. (Thomas & Morgantown) - Seneca IPA
Get a West Virginia Tattoo
If you're really hardcore about your love for West Virginia and want to show your pride like I do, you could get your body permanently etched with something related to the Mountain State. A cardinal or a rhododendron might work well. You could go with the state seal. Or you could keep it simple like I did with the state's border. (Trust me, I didn't have the idea first!) If you're looking for a recommendation, Tat-Nice in Huntington and New Hope in Barboursville both do excellent work.
Now matter how you celebrate, though, make it a good one.
As an added bonus, here's some some outpouring of West Virginia pride I witnessed this morning as the state "woke up" on social media: