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Happy Birthday, W.Va.!

June 18, 2011
By Linda Comins , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Happy birthday, West Virginia!

West Virginia Day is officially Monday, June 20, but several organizations and communities in the Northern Panhandle have begun the celebration with a full weekend of festivities, culminating in activities Monday.

In Marshall County, tourism officials and historical groups planned the popular West Virginia Day Tour for Saturday, June 18. Highlights of the day-long event were slated to be presentations by re-enactors portraying President Abraham Lincoln, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

James Getty, renowned Lincoln actor and Lincoln historian, was slated to appear as the16th president. West Virginia Humanities Council re-enactors Al Stone and Doug Riley were to represent Lee and Jackson, respectively.

We learned an interesting tidbit about the Marshall County events through an electronic press release submitted by, which describes itself as "the world's most comprehensive independently owned bed and breakfast directory."

In the news release concerning West Virginia Day activities, Solomon Singer from stated that the re-enactors portraying Lee and Lincoln would be staying at the Bonnie Dwaine Bed & Breakfast in Glen Dale. We daresay it might be the first time that Lincoln and Lee slept under the same roof! We trust that no fisticuffs or altercations occurred between the two during their stay at the inn.

Innkeeper Sidney Grisell was quoted as saying, "Re-enacting is pretty new for us because we're pretty far from the major battlefields."

As noted, the West Virginia Day observance continues today, June 19, and Monday, June 20, at the state's birthplace, West Virginia Independence Hall in downtown Wheeling.

Special tours with historic characters will be offered from 1-2 p.m. today. A highlight of the commemoration will be a dramatic re-enactment of Gov. Francis Pierpont's inaugural address at 2 p.m. today. The day's events will conclude with a reception at 2:30 p.m.

The high point of Monday's festivities at the hall will be performances of period music by the Wildcat Regiment Band at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Wildcat Regiment Band, which has played at the hall on several occasions, is much in demand.

Getting the band booked for West Virginia Day is quite a coup, considering the group's busy schedule. We recommend that Wheeling area residents turn out in great numbers to attend these concerts by the Wildcat Regiment Band.

Naturally, considerable attention has been focused in the region on the opening of the new film, "Super 8," that was filmed principally in Weirton. The suspense-filled thriller also has garnered much publicity nationally.

''Super 8'' was the cover story for the June 17 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine, with an interview of director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg under the headline, "Kids at Heart." The magazine package included capsule biographies of the young stars of ''Super 8." The movie also was reviewed in that issue of Entertainment Weekly, earning an "A" rating from film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum.

The New York Times and the Washington Post were among the major newspapers reviewing "Super 8" last weekend. No mention was made, though, of Weirton being the site for on-location filming. While the New York Times gave "Super 8" rather tepid marks, at least the newspaper didn't bash Weirton this time, unlike a couple of Times articles that cast the city in an extremely bad light earlier this year.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-

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