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Arts & Culture: City of Huntington Sesquicentennial

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — 2021 is a monumental moment in Huntington’s storied history.

This year marks 150 years since the Articles of Incorporation were signed, giving Huntington its status as a city. The Huntington 150 committee, in conjunction with The City of Huntington, Mountain Health Network, AT&T and other partners, have a yearlong roster lined up of events and initiatives.

“There will be something for everyone throughout our anniversary year,” said Huntington Mayor Steve Williams. “The committee has been hard at work putting together events and initiatives that will mark how far we have come as a city and our vision for our future. 2021 is an important year, and we will showcase our resilience after 2020, which was a trying year for so many in our city and beyond its borders. These events will help us celebrate our collective past, present and future.”

The following events will be part of Huntington’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2021:

• Feb. 27: “The Good Time Show with Michael Valentine” virtual variety show

• April 16: Mountain Stage outdoor concert

• Oct. 22: Time capsule closing and Huntington Museum of Art exhibit

“The Good Time Show” on Feb. 27 will highlight Huntington’s official birthday with a blend of familiar faces in a myriad of formats, from skits to musical acts. More information will be released this month.

The second signature event, the Mountain Stage concert on April 16 at 7:30 p.m., will bring back the internationally-acclaimed talents of the popular NPR program. This rain-or-shine event will take place at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, and all local, state and federal safety guidelines will be followed.

“The Marshall Artists Series is honored to be part of Huntington’s 150th Anniversary celebration,” said Penny Watkins, executive director of Marshall Artists Series. “As an 84-year-old entity at Marshall University, our history is intertwined with Huntington’s history, and we are proud to be a part of that legacy.”

Tickets went on sale on Jan. 25. General admission tickets are $60, with fees and taxes included in the price. Performing artists will be announced at a later date. For more information, visit www.mountainstage.org and www.marshallartistsseries.org.

The closing of the time capsule on Oct. 22 will culminate a year of anniversary-themed events, in addition to celebrating the city’s founder Collis P. Huntington’s 200th birthday. A separate Huntington 150 subcommittee is working on the time capsule logistics for 2021, and the public’s involvement is encouraged. More information will be made available at a later date.

In addition, the Huntington Museum of Art will tentatively host an opening reception of its Huntington Sesquicentennial Exhibit on Oct. 22. The exhibit will be on view from Sept. 18, 2021, through Jan. 16, 2022. The museum will also release a biographical dictionary containing more than 700 biographies of artists who made their home in Huntington at some point in their careers.

The community is invited to get involved in Huntington’s 150th Anniversary in other ways as well:

• MAKE THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY PART OF YOUR EVENT IN 2021.​ Use the ​collections of templates​ to get started and add the sesquicentennial theme to your in-person or virtual events. If you’re not hosting an event, celebrate by attending one!

• SPONSOR OUR CELEBRATION.​ If you’re a small business, larger organization or part of another sector, be a year-long sponsor of our activities. We offer different levels and perks of being a sponsor — besides being part of history. See sponsorship opportunities here.

• SHARE YOUR STORY.​ All of us have a story about Huntington to tell. Whether you remember bygone days or are a new transplant to The Jewel City, we want to hear from you! Be part of the 150 Stories initiative. They are now collecting stories from community members to commemorate Huntington’s vibrant history and to showcase why residents love Huntington. They are seeking 50 stories, in both written and video formats for our time capsule, social media posts and other storytelling methods in 2021.

Starting in 2021, we will choose one story to release per week, and a total of 50 stories will also be an integral part of the time capsule. Submit your story at www.cityofhuntington.com/huntington150.

• PURCHASE A 150TH THEMED PRODUCT.​ We are currently offering a commemorative, limited edition collection of Blenko products, including water vases and sundials. Visit The Red Caboose in person or online at www.shoptheredcaboosewv.com.

CONTRIBUTE INDIVIDUALLY.​ Contribute financially to the ​150th Anniversary Fund. Volunteer for a 150-sponsored or partner event, whether it’s a city cleanup or helping at a signature Huntington event.

Access the media kit and all campaign materials here: bit.ly/huntington150toolkit. Access the digital version here: bit.ly/huntington150magazine.

To learn more about Huntington’s sesquicentennial: www.cityofhuntington.com/huntington150. Contact the City of Huntington’s Director of Communications Bryan Chambers at 304-696-5540 chambersb@huntingtonwv.gov and Event Coordinator Kaylin Staten at 304-900-2833 or kaylin@hourglassomnimedia.com.