Celebrate state’s birthday by making new memories
Roots run deep in West Virginia - not just in the places where we live, but also in the places we visit.
The summer travel season is upon us, and thousands of travelers are returning to places in West Virginia they know as intimately as their own homes, and love just as deeply.
Ask them how long they’ve been coming, and they measure it in generations: Grandparents teaching grandchildren to fish in the same streams where they learned themselves. Parents with teenagers hiking the trails where they’ve watched them grow up. Couples in their golden years returning to parks where they were married.
What brings them back again and again? These places fill their hearts and become part of who they are. West Virginia is full of places like that.
Most everyone reading this has a place like that somewhere in this state, one that you can’t think about without smiling. Most of us, in fact, have more than one.
June 20 is West Virginia’s birthday. Last year, we asked you to celebrate on social media by posting pictures of places you’d been and things you’d done in our state. Your response was overwhelming: Your posts had a reach of over 15 million.
As impressive as that was, this year, we want you to take it a step further: For our state’s 155th year, don’t just post an old picture. Go somewhere and make a new one.
Pick one of your favorite West Virginia places and visit it. Celebrate the state’s birthday in one of the places that make our state great. While you’re there, take a picture. Post it to your social channels using #AlmostHeaven. Let the world know how you feel about your state.
Because we’re asking you to do something extra this year, we’re giving you something extra in return. At the Tourism Office, we’re celebrating the big day with our first batch of Almost Heaven stickers.
You haven’t seen anything like them; they’re the first stickers to feature our new state tourism logo. You can get them at hundreds of tourism destinations around the state. The full list is online at WVtourism.com. Odds are your favorite West Virginia place is one of them.
If you pick up a sticker and include it in the picture of your visit, that’s even better! Some of those who post will be chosen to receive an Almost Heaven gift pack that includes a T-shirt, sunglasses, camping canteen, and more, all with the new Almost Heaven logo.
Since Governor Justice launched our new tourism campaign in April, thousands of people have told us how proud it makes them feel about our state. This birthday is a perfect opportunity to broadcast that feeling to the world.
Tourism is one of our critical industries, and these days, the way you present us on social media has a huge influence on the success of our tourism sector.
So get and explore Almost Heaven this weekend, or as soon as you get the chance, and have some fun while you honor West Virginia’s 155th birthday. We can’t wait to see you!
Chelsea Ruby is West Virginia’s State Tourism commissioner. She previously organized the state’s 150th birthday celebration as executive director of the Sesquicentennial Commission in 2013.