Governor and First Lady Justice celebrate West Virginia’s 160th Birthday; winner of WV Birthday Punch Contest announced


Governor and First Lady Justice celebrate West Virginia’s 160th Birthday; winner of WV Birthday Punch Contest announced
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice participated in several West Virginia Day events at the State Culture Center today, in celebration of the state’s 160th Birthday.

"I'm so happy to be celebrating West Virginia Day with all of you," Gov. Justice said. "We have so much to be proud of, too. We are no longer a bad joke. Instead, we are the diamond in the rough everybody missed. We are the envy of the world. There is no better place to live, work and raise a family than right here in West Virginia. Our state's future is really bright."
The first 160 people to arrive received a limited edition 160th birthday commemorative gift handmade by local artisans with the Black Locust Woodshop in Charleston.

A chorus of talented students representing schools across West Virginia came together to deliver a lineup of tunes, including iconic songs "Oh, the West Virginia Hills" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

Cabell Midland High School student, Brody Hammers, also played a spirited rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” on the piano.

Emmet Cahill, the lead singer of Celtic Thunder, a renowned Irish singing group and stage show known for its distinctive style, also performed the well-known hit "Danny Boy" and "Home Among the Hills."
First Lady Justice was knighted as an honorary member of the Golden Horseshoe, a recognition usually bestowed to top 8th grade WV history students. The special award was given in honor of the First Lady’s unwavering commitment to education, students, and the vibrant culture and tradition of West Virginia. 

“It is a great honor to join such an amazing group of West Virginians who have served and represented our State with devotion,” First Lady Justice said. “I consider this a special highlight of my time as First Lady of West Virginia, and I’m grateful to be included among all the other Knights of the Golden Horseshoe”
First Lady Justice also announced the winner of her West Virginia Birthday Punch Contest during today’s celebration.

Cindy Scott of Morgantown was named the grand prize winner with her recipe – “Mountain Mama’s Refresher.” Scott joined First Lady Justice onstage, along with her college friend, Sandy Murcock.  The two collaborated on the punch recipe while attending West Virginia University.

“Our West Virginia Birthday Punch contest has been a lot of fun and the response was really great,” First Lady Justice said. “With summer coming, I know that these wonderful recipes will provide many West Virginians with a delicious beverage to serve at family gatherings. I hope everyone has a terrific summer!”
Scott won a $300 Visa gift card and both ladies were awarded honorary certificates for taking home the top prize.

“Mountain Mama’s Refresher” was selected as the best of the best among four outstanding punch recipes that were selected as finalists in the contest. All finalist punch recipes were taste-tested by the First Lady, Gov. Jim Justice, Chief of Staff to the First Lady Vicki Shannon, Special Assistant to the First Lady Katie Morris, Special Liaison to First Lady Justice Serena Nichols, and other staff members.
Those who submitted punch recipes that were selected as finalists, have each won a $50 Visa gift card and have been awarded a participation certificate.

All of the finalist punch recipes will soon be made available on the West Virginia Birthday Punch Contest webpage.

Finalists listed alphabetically by punch name below:

Apple Orchard Punch
Craig Turk | Westover, WV

Peggy Erwin’s Punch
Deloris Harless | St. Albans, WV

Wild and Wonderful Frozen Banana Punch
Janet Perry Sheldon | St. Albans, WV

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,; CJ Harvey,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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