West Virginia University’s 68th annual celebration of West Virginia heritage and culture, Mountaineer Week, begins Friday, Oct. 30 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 8.
Each year, Mountaineer Week has given WVU students and the Morgantown community the chance to learn more about West Virginia and Appalachian culture and heritage. Events hosted throughout the week bring the history of the Mountain State to life and help teach students and the community about the rich and varied culture of the state and region. This year’s Mountaineer Week will not only focus on the state’s culture and heritage, but will also highlight the history of Appalachian Dance, which found its beginnings in the Mountain State.
Sonja Wilson, Mountaineer Week advisor said Mountaineer Week gives WVU, our community, our state and our region the opportunity to learn more about West Virginia and Appalachian culture and heritage.
“Our West Virginia hills will ring with the sounds of fiddles, banjos, clogging, and square dancing during Mountaineer Week this year as we enjoy the celebration of the state of West Virginia,” said Wilson. Appalachian People share a common cultural heritage and oftentimes that is expressed through their speech and dialect, their building methods and crafts, and also through their dance. Dance traditions from our homeland are important links to the past. The roots of Appalachian Dance are varied and include the influence of English, Scots-Irish, French, African-American, and Native American dances.
Because this year’s celebration is focused on Appalachian Dance, several events have been planned to highlight the region’s deep dancing traditions. The opening ceremonies of Mountaineer Week will take place on Friday (Oct. 30) at noon in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. Cindy O’Brien, an Appalachian Dance Scholar and a member of the Friends of Old-Time Music, will serve as the keynote speaker. On Saturday (Oct 31), Family Fun Day will feature the WVU Irish Dance Team, InStep Youth Cloggers, and the String of Pearls. Later that night, an Old Fashioned Square Dance, presented by the Friends of Old Time Music, will be held at 9:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Food Court. The Square Dance will feature caller Taylor Runner and the band Gerry Milnes and Friends.
A favorite among students and community members alike, the Mountaineer Week Craft Fair & Quilt Show, will take place October 30 – November 1, where over 60 artisans from West Virginia and the surrounding states will come together to showcase their skills and sell their products. The event will take place on the second floor of the Mountainlair.
Family Fun Day will take place October 31 from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to enjoy fun Appalachian games with prizes. Horse and buggy rides will also be available, weather permitting, along with other heritage events taking place both inside and outside the Mountainlair.
Appalachian foods will be available during all of Mountaineer Week this year. Homemade apple butter will be made in front of the Mountainlair by the West Augusta Historical Society on October 30-31. The WVU Collegiate 4-H Club will be making and selling roasted corn in front of the Mountainlair on October 30 – November 1. Kettle corn, pork rinds, funnel cakes, Bavarian nuts, and cotton candy will be made from October 30 – November 7 also all at the Mountainlair. The historic Mountaineer Week Country Vittles Dinner Buffet will be held on Friday (Oct. 30) from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Hatfields, located on the first floor of the Mountainlair. The home-cooked meal will resemble and taste like a meal that your Grandma used to make. John Lilly, with the band Blue Yonder, will be performing throughout Country Vittles.
The Mountaineer Week Challenge will take place throughout the week, with a variety of competitions for our WVU students including the Food Court Contest and the annual Scavenger Hunt. A true Mountaineer Week tradition, the PRT Cram, will take place on November 2 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and students are very excited to participate in the Bob Huggins 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament with all proceeds benefitting the Norma Mae Huggins’ Charity. The championship game and check presentation will both occur during the WVU Men’s Basketball Game versus Glenville State on November 6 at the WVU Coliseum.
Back again this year is the Walking Ghost Tour, a favorite event among students. Ghost stories by Jason Burns, will be told at various buildings on the Downtown Campus, with a reception at 7:00 p.m. in the Mountainlair Vandalia Lounge and the tour beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The beard shaving finale, hosted by WVU Mountaineer Mascot Michael Garcia, will take place on November 4 at 12:00 p.m. on the grand staircase in the Mountainlair.
On November 7, Mountaineer Week will host the Student LOT, an event held before every home football game for students to enjoy an alcohol-free environment. Student LOT events include games, raffles, free food and a Chili Cook-Off. Then, at halftime of the WVU vs Texas Tech football game, the announcement of Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer and the Most Loyals will occur. This year also marks the second-ever Mr. & Ms. Mountaineer Reunion in which our former royalty will be coming back to campus to enjoy Mountaineer Week.
Mountaineer Week will come to a close on November 8 with the finale of Mountaineer Idol at 3:00 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the College of Creative Arts. This event is open to the public and free of charge.
Mountaineer Week has been chosen as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. From this selection, Mountaineer Week is expected to have visitors from not only our campus and community but from our state and region as well.
For a complete schedule of Mountaineer Week events visit http://mountaineerweek.wvu.edu/events.
CONTACT: Sonja Wilson, Mountainlair
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