West Virginia to mark 156th birthday June 20

A group of tourists peer out at the New River Gorge Bridge at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center in Lansing on Tuesday. According to the National Park Service, the center receives 300,000 visits a year. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

West Virginia will mark its 156th birthday June 20 with celebrations across the state.

State and county government offices will be closed in observance of West Virginia Day.

In Charleston, Gov. Jim Justice and first lady Cathy Justice will kick off a day-long celebration at 11 a.m. in the Culture Center with birthday cupcakes, a limited edition Blenko vase, and a performance by Ravenswood High School's show choir, Rave Revue, which won the first lady's art series show choir contest with their rendition of “My Home Among The Hills.”

Additionally, Gov. Justice and the state Tourism Office are conducting the West Virginia Week Challenge June 14-20. It is a seven-day social media challenge designed to increase travel with daily themes and the hashtag #AlmostHeaven.

Tourism attractions around the state have donated vacations and passes that will be given away daily to lucky participants.

To participate, social media users are asked to follow along with the themes each day and publicly post their photos and memories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #AlmostHeaven.

To be eligible, participants must set their challenge posts to public and enter to win on Wvtourism.com/WVDay. Participants who publicly post and enter online all seven days of the challenge will be eligible to win the grand vacation prizes on West Virginia Day.  

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