By Tina Alvey
A full week of events is planned in Greenbrier County in celebration of West Virginia’s 150th birthday, culminating with a free outdoor concert and fireworks show at the state fairgrounds in Fairlea.
Sesquicentennial week kicks off today, with memoir readings presented by several Greenbrier County elders. This free event will begin at 2 p.m. today at Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT) in downtown Lewisburg.
GVT will follow that up with a free Reader’s Theatre performance of “Faded Memories” by Ben Crookshanks Monday evening at 7:30.
The celebration’s focus shifts to Lewisburg’s Carnegie Hall Tuesday at noon, as The Greenbrier resort’s historian, Bob Conte, holds forth on “100 Years at The Greenbrier,” as part of Carnegie’s free Brown Bag Tuesdays series.
That evening, GVT will continue with authors Glenn Taylor and Dave Corbin discussing “150 Years of Stereotypes: Exploring West Virginians in Literature & History.” The free presentation begins at the theatre at 7:30 p.m.
GVT also has scheduled performances this week of two plays that spotlight a pair of historically-based stories that have passed into local legend.
A musical based on the haunting tale of Zona Heaster — famously known as the Greenbrier Ghost — will thrill the GVT audience Wednesday evening. Show time is 7:30.
A lesser-known, but nonetheless riveting story, is told in GVT’s second historical production, “The Greenbrier Martyr.” With performances set for Thursday evening and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., the play by KC Davis dramatizes the tragic Civil War saga of David Creigh. A prominent Lewisburg resident, Creigh found a Yankee soldier ransacking his house, and the resulting fight left the soldier dead and Creigh a wanted man.
For tickets ($18-$24) to either “The Greenbrier Ghost” or “The Greenbrier Martyr,” visit www.gvtheatre.org or call the box office at 304-645-3838.
Returning to Thursday’s slate of activities, Carnegie Hall will host a birthday party for West Virginia, complete with live music and birthday cake. This free event will be staged on the Carnegie lawn.
Carnegie Hall is also the site for a square dance at 7 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $5.
The North House Museum in Lewisburg will feature a Civil War history display, while exhibitions assembled by the Greenbrier Historical Society will grace the GVT lobby during performances of “The Greenbrier Ghost” and “The Greenbrier Martyr.”
The zenith of sesquicentennial week in Greenbrier County is a free concert of patriotic music and local favorites offered by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in a performance that will feature West Virginia native and acclaimed actor David Selby. Fireworks will follow the show.
The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds. Those planning to attend this event are encouraged to pack a picnic supper or tailgating gear and arrive soon after the gates open at 6 p.m., to assure getting the best seats. Free parking will be provided in the carnival area for those entering the fairgrounds via gate 2 and following the signs and the instructions of parking attendants.
The concert is sponsored in part by First National Bank, the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission, the Greenbrier County Commission, Mary Laub Cowan and the State Fair of West Virginia.
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