Wheeling Readies For Anniversary

As history buffs know, the sesquicentennial of West Virginia statehood occurs in the middle of the five-year observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

Activities related to the statehood sesquicentennial are occurring throughoutl this year, with the biggest celebration set for Thursday, June 20, the actual 150th anniversary of the state’s formation. Wheeling – with its role as birthplace of the state – will be front and center in that celebration.

Many exciting events are in the works in Wheeling for the extended weekend of June 20-22, with other programs offered as a prelude to the big observance. The Wheeling Civil War 150 Committee will be announcing plans for the official celebration in the near future, and it promises to be a grand, memorable occasion.

Several of the events will take place at West Virginia Independence Hall, the state’s official birthplace, in downtown Wheeling.

The Wheeling waterfront will be put to good use during the three-day celebration. During a free concert at Heritage Port on Thursday evening, June 20, the Wheeling Symphony will play the premiere of its new commissioned piece, Fanfare for West Virginia. In addition, special musical guests may make an appearance on the program.

The annual Wheeling ArtsFest, held downtown, will be incorporated into the festivities on Saturday, June 22.

So, mark your calendars now to be in Wheeling for this big week in mid-June.

Meanwhile, one of West Virginia’s great musical stars, Glen Dale native Brad Paisley, has written a song about a current figure in pop culture (and, I’m using the word “culture” loosely).

In a brief titled “Paisley Redneckonizes,” People magazine reported, “The country star pays tribute to the ‘sugared-up beauty queen garden gnome’ in ‘The Ballad of Honey Boo Boo.'”

It could be yet another sign that civilization as we know it is coming to an end.

Officials of the Washington Wild Things, the minor league baseball team in Washington, Pa., said they were saddened to learn that Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs, died of lung cancer earlier this month at the age of 71. A spokesman for the team explained that The Troggs’ song “Wild Thing” was an inspiration to the group who named the team in 2001.

In a news release, the team stated, “While the committee that was assembled to name the Wild Things in 2001 went through many options, they kept returning to one – the Wild Things.”

Christine Blaine, Wild Things’ director of marketing and communication, who was a part of that group, said, “The movie ‘Major League’ and the song ‘Wild Thing’ had a major influence on the decision to call the team the Wild Things. If it weren’t for that song, the team would have been named something completely different.”

The news release was accompanied by a photograph of the Wild Things mascot wearing a black ribbon, in memory of Presley, on its team jersey.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: Comins@news-register.net