Students can help celebrate state’s birthday

PARKERSBURG – The West Virginia Department of Commerce is sponsoring several promotions for the state’s sesquicentennial.

A contest will be held for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Children in grades K-5 will create a birthday card for the celebration. Students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 can create videos by themselves or in teams of two. Videos must not be longer than 2 minutes.

Themes for the videos are “Happy 150th Birthday West Virginia – What Makes West Virginia Unique” and “What makes West Virginia special?” Students should wish West Virginia a happy 150th birthday within the videos.

Prizes include Kindles and gift cards and will be awarded in each age group. Winning artwork may also be showcased in the rotunda during the West Virginia 150th birthday celebration at the state Capitol.

The contest is free and entries can be submitted until May 15. Each entry must have an application available online at www.wvcommerce.org/art150.

The department also will offer free reunion kits for planners to welcome people to West Virginia. The kits have everything needed to celebrate the sesquicentennial including postcards, state highway maps, travel guides and goodie bags.

The promotion period runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day, or while supplies last. First come, first served. Only school, family or community reunions are eligible, and the reunion must take place in West Virginia.

The sesquicentennial is June 20. West Virginians reuniting with friends, family and former classmates can take part all summer long by downloading birthday fliers or banners at www.wvcommerce.org/reunions.

More than 800 reunions received kits in 2012. This year, the kits will include a 150th Birthday T-shirt and three 150th Birthday hats to offer as reunion door prizes. Additional birthday memorabilia can be purchased at www.wv150.com.

The reunion kit contains:

* 25 plastic convention bags with the 150th birthday logo

* 25 happy birthday balloons

* 25 West Virginia highway maps

* 25 state park bookmarks

* 25 special edition West Virginia EDGE magazines

* 50 assorted scenic postcards of West Virginia

* 15 state park brochures

* 15 state travel guides

* 1 West Virginia-shaped cookie cutter

Regional tourism information will be added to the kits when they are picked up at the local participating convention and visitors’ bureau welcome center. Additional kits, T-shirts and hats can also be ordered online and picked up at the center.

Event coordinators may request reunion kits by visiting www.wvcommerce.org/reunions or calling 304-957-9332 or 304-957-9363. A completed official application form may be submitted online at www.wvcommerce.org/reunions or downloaded and mailed to Department of Commerce, 2013 Reunions, 90 MacCorkle Ave. SW, South Charleston, WV 25303.