Musicians, artists to return to WV Capitol for annual Vandalia Gathering

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state’s annual celebration of the arts, music and crafts returns Friday through Sunday.

The 46th annual Vandalia Gathering will be held on the state Capitol grounds in Charleston.

Adam Jones, event manager of the state Department of Arts, Culture and History, said it’s a family event that showcases West Virginia’s heritage.

“Everyone has been coming for years and years to the Capitol grounds performing music. It’s keeping the traditional music alive — the Bluegrass banjos, the mandolins, flatfoot dancing. It’s our heritage and it’s trying to keep that alive,” Jones said.

The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday with an awards ceremony for quilt and wall-hanging winners and a presentation of the 2023 Vandalia Award. Visitors can see the annual Quilts and Wall Hangings Exhibition on display through Sept. 20 at the state Culture Center.

There will be a minor change this year when it comes to square dancing. Jones said they’re moving the square-dancing stage inside.

“It was kind of far away last year and a lot of people didn’t really know about it. It gets hot in the spot that it was so we’re actually going to move it inside so it’ll be a little bit cooler and hopefully more people will be able to experience the square dance stage,” Jones said.

The event is not just about music and dancing, Jones said.

“From basket-making to pottery, to plants to photos, woodworking, we have an iron worker coming and there’s all the foods of course,” he said.

Food booths will feature traditional and ethnic foods, including hot dogs, roasted corn, Italian sausage sandwiches, tacos in a bag, potatoes and eggs, strawberry shortcake and cobblers.

There will be Vandalia Gathering t-shirts, caps and other souvenirs for sale, as well as music from West Virginia’s musicians.

There will be a concert at 7 p.m. Friday following the award ceremonies, emceed by Bill Kimmons, will feature the Long Point String Band, Ben Townsend, Roger Bryant, Robert Shafer, The MacAbre Brothers, and The State Birds.

On Saturday evening, there will be another concert emceed by Bill Hairston, which starts at 7 p.m. in the State Theater and will feature performances by Gerry Milnes and Mike Miller, The Mack Samples Band, Ginny Hawker, Val Mindel, Emily Miller, Kanawha Tradition, Lady D, and Steadfast.

Outside activities begin on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Events include old-time fiddle, bluegrass banjo, and mandolin contests and more.

The popular Liars Contest returns on Sunday in the State Theater at 12 p.m. as storytellers compete for Goldenseal magazine’s coveted Golden Shovel award.

For a full list of events, CLICK HERE.

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