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Downtown hosts state birthday party

MORGANTOWN — Almost Heaven lived up to its nickname for its 159th birthday on Monday.

The cloudy and warm day was the backdrop to a birthday party for West Virginia at the Monongalia County Courthouse Square, hosted by Main Street Morgantown.

The celebration featured gold and blue cupcakes provided by West Virginia University, live music by Jim Truman,  games for kids and the food truck Stray Cat Chimmi Shack.

“We weren’t trying to promote it as a big event; a little more low-key than some of the Main Street events that we do,” said Danielle Trumble, Morgantown councilwoman and Main Street promotions committee member. “So I think this is a great turnout and very casual. It’s a nice event.”

Executive Director Barbara Watkins said Main Street is lucky with the amount of support its events get from the community. 

“It’s nice to see people come out and, you know, it’s nice to have some free things going on for kids, too,” Watkins said.

Among the children’s games were giant Jenga blocks painted in the signature WVU gold and blue. Those were made by Trumble and her husband John several years ago for the Celebrate Woodburn and Arts Community Festival.

Twins Emeline and Mary Copen were enjoying the West Virginia-themed blocks while also celebrating their second birthday.

“It’s fun for the family. Josh found it, he does PR so I think he kind of knows about stuff that’s going on, but it’s a good celebration,” the twin’s mother, Deanette said. “The girls think it’s for their birthdays.”

Stray Cat Chimmi Shack offered up fried pepperoni rolls – a classic and recognizable state food – and tommy pickles.

The pepperoni rolls are one of the best sellers, said Peyton Hartman, a Keyser native who was working hard to crank out the food.

 “This is a homage to my home state,” he said

West Virginia Day is a state holiday celebrated on June 20 each year to recognize and celebrate the state’s admission into the Union in 1863. It was formally recognized as a holiday by the state legislature in 1927.