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Map of the region

The Metro Valley is home to 30% of the population of West Virginia, and along with the Northern Panhandle, it includes some of the most diverse and culturally active areas in the state. Numerous year-round activities promote ethnic heritage in the area and provide the larger Metro Valley communities, like Charleston and Huntington, with a culturally rich environment in which to live and interact. Throughout the Metro Valley region, there are smaller pockets of ethnic diversity, reflecting families and communities from around the world who now make their home in West Virginia.

There are nine counties in the Metro Valley: Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, and Wayne. Kanawha County has the largest population, with approximately 12% of the state's population. Cabell County is the second largest, with 5%, and the remaining counties are each home to between 1 and 3% of the population of West Virginia.

In the late 1700's, Scots-Irish and German immigrants were the first European settlers in this region. During the coal boom in the late 1800's, local coal towns created some of the most diverse areas in the state. African Americans from the southern states and eastern Europeans representing numerous ethnic backgrounds came to these regions to work in the coalfields. The major coal towns during this period were Williamson, Matewan, Kermit, Logan, and Mingo. Racially and ethnically diverse populations in Boone, Kanawha, Logan, and Mingo counties are today largely due to the fact that these counties were the sites of coal operations.

Charleston has a rich history as an industrial center, which was responsible for creating a diverse community many years prior to the coal towns. Historically, the Metro Valley owes much of its early population to the salt-making industries in the Kanawha Valley. This region was one of the first in the state to have a large black population, for example. African Americans were here in significant numbers even before the 1860's, due to the presence of a slave population associated with the saline industry. Today, metropolitan areas like Charleston and Huntington host the majority of the state's ethnic diversity.

As an industrial region, the Metro Valley has been home for a number of ethnic communities with historical associations to a particular industry. For example, in the early history of the glass industry in Charleston, there was a thriving Belgian community, as Belgian artisans were the primary employees. Today, Japanese-based industries in the Metro Valley have attracted a new and growing Japanese community.

In addition to the communities discussed in the following section, this region is home to numerous other ethnic groups for whom we currently have no contact, including Polynesian. This region has the largest state populations of several other ethnic groups, including Filipino, Hungarian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai. The region also has very high populations of people of Chinese, Italian, Polish, and Russian ancestry.


General Description

There are approximately 55,400 African Americans in West Virginia. Well over 20,000 live in the Metro Valley, representing nearly 38% of the population of African Americans in West Virginia. The majority of the population is in three counties: Kanawha County is home to 25% of the state African American population, primarily in the vicinity of Charleston; Cabell County is home to 7%, in the vicinity of Huntington; and Logan County is home to approximately 3%.

African Americans have lived in West Virginia from the very beginning of the settlement period, but there are only a few larger communities dating to before the coal boom. One of these is in the Charleston area. The salt-making industries in the Kanawha Valley brought a large slave population in the early history of this region. Outside of the Charleston area, there were small communities of African Americans throughout the Metro Valley and West Virginia in general prior to the 1880's, however the numbers greatly increased during and after the coal boom.

African Americans have a rich history in the Metro Valley, and the contemporary community is broad and diverse. This region is the home place of Booker T. Washington, one of America's greatest educators, who grew up in Malden, outside of Charleston. It is also the location of West Virginia State University in Institute, originally founded in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute. There have been numerous black-owed businesses in the area; African Americans have had important roles in business in Huntington, for example, since the city was founded in 1871.

Community Activities

Black culture and heritage is maintained and expressed in numerous ways in the Metro Valley. Many ethnic-related activities revolve around the church communities, including community dinners, socials, and annual celebrations. Numerous predominantly black churches are found in the Metro Valley, each with its own rich community history. Gospel song and worship are very big parts of the African American community, and this is especially true in the Metro Valley. The Charleston Area Community Choir is one active group performing gospel song in the area, which also has received national recognition. One of the goals of the Annual Black Sacred Music Festival at West Virginia State University is to preserve the history and style of black sacred music. This event is a focal point for the local the black church community, and it attracts participants from throughout the state. In Huntington, the Juneteenth Celebration is an outdoor community festival celebrating the end of slavery, and it includes a parade, special presentations, live entertainment, and craft venders. An informational booklet describing the historical significance of the event is available each year to festival visitors. The celebration is in honor of the events of June 19, 1865, when the message of freedom from slavery reached the entire African American community. Observance of Kwanzaa, a year-end celebration which includes a community gathering and a non-denominational service, takes place throughout the Metro Valley. In Charleston, WCZR 1490 AM is a radio station that is specialized to the African American community. The Beacon Digest, founded in 1954 by Benjamin Starks, is a weekly newspaper which serves the special interests of the African American population in the Metro Valley. Numerous black historians live and work in the region. Several other events in the Metro Valley, including the annual Black Arts Expo and the West Virginia Black History Conference, provide community forums for arts and academics.

Recommended Contacts

Ethel Caffie Austin
604 Grandview Pt.
Dunbar, WV 25064

Ronald W. English
1595 Jackson Street Apt. B
Charleston, WV 25301

Anthony Kinzer, Sr.
West Virginia Center for African American Art and Culture
P.O. Box 11655
Charleston, WV 25339


General Description

There are approximately 2,200 Asian Indians in West Virginia, according to the 1990 census. The Metro Valley is home to more than 1,000 Asian Indians, representing approximately 45% of the statewide Asian Indian population. In the Metro Valley, the two major centers for the Indian community are Charleston and Huntington. 25% of the West Virginia Asian Indian population is in Kanawha County, primarily in the Charleston area. Fifteen % of the West Virginia Indian community is in Cabell County, primarily in the Huntington area. The Huntington community has strong ties with the community in Ashland, Kentucky; together, these two communities include approximately 50 families. The Asian Indian community has experienced major growth in the past 25 years, with the vast majority of the members of the community working as professionals, and nearly 90% in the medical field.

Community Activities

Members of the Asian Indian community are represented through a network called the India Association, an organization of the general Asian Indian community that reaches throughout the state. South Charleston is the home for the India Center, a facility constructed in the 1980's to provide a common ground for promoting the heritage of India, and a location for community outreach programs and worship services. The India Center serves as a focal point for the Indian community in the Charleston area. The community in Huntington is smaller, and does not have a permanent temple building, but is also very strong and has several year-round activities, including an annual community picnic. Members of the Huntington community meet monthly for religious services.

The Asian Indian communities throughout the Metro Valley hold five or six annual events to celebrate heritage and share Indian culture with the public. In early May each year, the Charleston India Association hosts the India Heritage Fair: A Celebration of Indo-American Friendship. This event features Indian foods, costume, music, dance, and history. Annual religious holidays and festivities are observed in the Charleston and the Huntington areas. These include a New Year's Celebration, featuring traditional dance, live music, and a wide variety of Indian foods among the festivities. A special feature of the New Year's celebration activities are the traditional dance workshops for both children and adults. Other holiday festivals include Holi, held in the spring, and Diwali, held in late fall. These festivals reflect religious traditions and are also community celebrations open to the general public. They provide an artistic outlet for local Indian musicians and artisans. The India Center in Charleston provides catering services, a tsunami relief effort, and other activities.

Recommended Contacts

Ms. Kiran Sanghavi
India Center Incorporated /India Association
P.O. Box 8985
S. Charleston, WV 25303
744-0021 (India Center)

Kum Kum Majumdar
108 Broadmoor Drive
Huntington, WV 25705


General Description

Many Greek settlers originally came to the Metro Valley in the early twentieth century to work in coal mines. Currently, the population centers in the Metro Valley are in Kanawha and Cabell counties, in the vicinity of Charleston and Huntington. Industry in the metropolitan areas attracted many Greek settlers, and the early establishment of strong churches created a focal point for the growing communities. Approximately 100 families are an active part of the Greek community in the Charleston area, and 40 to 50 families are active in the Greek community in Huntington. Strong ethnic ties are found in association with the Greek Orthodox churches in these two cities.

Community Activities

The Greek Orthodox churches - St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston and St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Huntington - are an important part of the Greek communities in both cities. Historically, these churches have served the Greek community, however it is important to note that the congregations have become more diverse, and ethnicity is no longer at the forefront of the service. In early years, for example, more of the service would have been in Greek. The Greek Orthodox church in Huntington serves a diverse Orthodox community, including also Czechoslovakian, Ukrainian, and Carpatho-Russian. The St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston has a diverse patronage, and is also attended by Christian Arabs, Armenians, and Serbians, among others. Approximately 100 families attend St. John. Because they represent a diverse patronage, Greek heritage is but one element of traditional life associated with these churches. These other groups also bring rich ethnic components to the communities.

Within the Greek community, the Orthodox Easter Service remains one of the most important activities keeping the traditions alive. Both churches have service organizations and clubs that provide a meeting place for the community, although they are not strictly ethnic cultural clubs. These include the men's organization, AHEPA, and the women's organizations, Daughters of Penelope and the Ladies Philoptochos Society. The Ladies Philoptochos Society, for example, has Greek food bake sales at Easter, Christmas, and other times of the year. Both churches also hold Greek dinners that are open to the general surrounding communities.

Once a year, the Charleston community hosts a Greek dinner, called Hellenic Night. The Charleston community also has a weekly Greek Heritage Night at the church, which features an ongoing Greek language class, and offers occasional lessons in Greek traditional dance.

In Huntington, the Saint George Greek Orthodox community holds a Grecian Festival the last weekend in September. It features Greek dancing, traditional food and music, and provides an excellent introduction to Greek heritage and the regional Greek community. The church also holds several tours a year to present the architecture of the building and the artwork found within. The church recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and has been newly renovated in the Orthodox tradition. Iconography exhibited at the church is an important element of the spiritual side of the general Orthodox community. Some have been created by local artists, and each tells a story of the lives of the saints.

Recommended Contacts

Very Reverend Father David Shaw
St. John Greek Orthodox Church
3512 MacCorkle Ave. SE,
Charleston, WV 25304
925-3906 or 925-3252

Father Mark Elliott
St. George Greek Orthodox Church
11th Ave. and 7th St.,
Huntington, WV 25701-3213


General Description

Within the state of West Virginia, approximately 7% claim Irish as their sole ancestry, and among individuals of multiple ancestry, approximately 11% cite Irish as their primary heritage. In other words, at least 18% of the population West Virginia is of Irish descent. The proportion having Irish heritage in the Metro Valley is consistent with the state estimate; over 99,000 people in the Metro Valley region have Irish heritage.

As in much of America, many people in West Virginia have very old Irish roots which date back to the earliest settlers. There have also been more recent immigrants from Ireland, from the middle nineteenth century to the present, and Irish heritage and culture is much more apparent within this group.

There have been several communities in the vicinity of Charleston and Huntington since the mid-1800's, and a few small rural communities throughout the Metro Valley region. Church networks, where one priest would serve in several congregations, created a way in which the communities stayed connected. The years surrounding World War I were difficult for ethnic cultures in the United States because of mainstream fears of foreign loyalty. Irish Catholics were the subject of much prejudice in early West Virginia because of their religion. Catholic elementary schools and high schools in Charleston and Huntington helped to maintain Irish Catholic ethnicity in the face of pressure to abandon religious and cultural values.

Community Activities

The historically Irish communities in the area are now gone, and the contemporary Irish community is essentially intermeshed with the general population. However, there are numerous activities and organizations which demonstrate an interest in maintaining or reviving Irish culture and heritage.

Churches traditionally associated with the Irish community include the Sacred Heart Church and St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Charleston, St. Agnes in Kanawha City, and St. Patrick’s in Hinton. The oldest Irish Catholic church in the area is Good Shepherd in Coalburg. These churches still maintain some elements of the traditional culture, particularly those which go hand-in-hand with the Catholic church community. Saint Patrick’s in Teays Valley is now closed, but has a well-kept cemetery with an annual service at the cemetery for Memorial Day. This event is an important social gathering for the local Irish community.

In Charleston, there is a loose-knit community with interests in promoting Irish heritage. Members of the local community are very active in Irish cultural events, including bringing to Charleston many of the best traditional music acts from Ireland for performances. There are also numerous individuals in the region who perform traditional Irish and Celtic music. Irish music events are held throughout the year, including a special Irish concert usually planned around St. Brendan's Day in the fall.

There are also several activities in the area focused on Celtic interests in general. Tri-Valley Celts in South Charleston promotes Scottish, Irish, and Welsh heritage and recently started a new Celtic Festival. The event includes Irish step-dancing, living history programs, pipe bands, and a parade of tartans. The festival also features a ceili, a traditional Irish social dance and party. In the Huntington area, the West Virginia Celtic Society hosts annual activities to promote Irish as well as Scottish and Welsh heritage. One such event is a community St. Patrick's Day celebration, called "A Wearin' O' the Green." This event is a huge block party and includes two Metro Valley stages of live entertainment with mime artists, jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, banjo players, and pipe and drum bands. A parade wraps up the day's activities.

Recommended Contacts

Pat Maroney
608 Virginia St. E.
Charleston, WV 25301
346-9629 (w)
925-0151 (h)

Roger Casey
Clan MacLeod Society
Rt. 1, Box 413
Milton, WV 25541


General Description

Much of the Japanese community in the Metro Valley is a new community that has grown up around the industries in the region. To a large extent, this community revolves around the workplace. In the past 10 years, 10 or 11 Japanese partnership businesses have come to the Metro Valley. In an exchange program, Japanese business persons and their families come to West Virginia to work for three to five years in the new businesses before returning to Japan. In the Charleston area, there are currently approximately 50 to 60 families who have come to West Virginia for several years to work before returning to Japan. Some of these families stay in West Virginia and join the culturally diverse region. There is also an older community of Japanese Americans who have lived in the Metro Valley for a much longer time.

Community Activities

Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia has provided Asian seminars at Marshall University and the University of Charleston, in addition to offering Saturday school to the children of Japanese employees. The Metro Valley region has several Japanese restaurants that cater to the general public and provide the main expression of Japanese culture in the area.

Recommended Contact

Laquita Harris
External Affairs Specialist
Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia
1 Sugar Maple Lane
Buffalo, WV 25033


General Description

Several thriving Jewish communities are found in the Metro Valley, including the states largest community in Charleston, which has approximately 300 families. The Huntington community is also very large and active, with approximately 135 families in the area. Smaller communities are found in Williamson in Mingo County (six or seven families), and Logan in Logan County (three or four families).

The Jewish community is primarily of German and Eastern European (including Polish, Russian, and Romanian) descent, but now is mainly American-born. The community in the Metro Valley was established as early as 1858 by Jewish immigrants from Germany. Synagogues and Hebrew schools were established shortly thereafter which helped to preserve both religious and ethnic identities up to the present.

Community Activities

Jewish culture and traditions are strongly maintained in the Metro Valley, and the communities have numerous activities which promote heritage and strengthen the bonds within the Jewish community and with the general population. The local congregations are the B'Nai Jacob Synagogue and the Congregation B'Nai Israel, both in Charleston, and the B'Nai Sholom Congregation in Huntington. At one time, Huntington also had a second congregation. The Logan congregation travels once a month to B'Nai Israel Temple in nearby Williamson for a service which also attracts individuals from eastern Kentucky.

In the Jewish community, religious activities provide the focal point for much of the traditional heritage. In Charleston and Huntington, for example, there are year-round cultural programs, music programs, and activities associated with Jewish holidays. The larger communities have religious schools and Hebrew schools for the youths. The sisterhood of the B'Nai Shalom is a women's service organization that meets the needs of the congregation. B'nai B'rith is primarily a men's club, which has social and educational activities including fund-raising and speakers on cultural and social topics. There are two youth groups for junior and senior youths. The synagogue also has an educational series, musical programs, and holds activities in conjunction with Marshall University. Hadassah is a Jewish Women's Zionist Organization which is a service organization principally helping local hospitals and the state of Israel. Organizations like Shalom Y'all in Charleston exist to welcome new Jewish families to the area and introduce them to the local community. The Jewish Cultural Series in Charleston is a regular program featuring speakers, musicians, and artists in the Jewish community. A monthly bulletin is published in Charleston for area activities.

Recommended Contacts

Rabbi Helen Bar-Yaacov
Congregation B'Nai Israel
2312 Kanawha Blvd. E.,
Charleston, WV 25311

Rabbi Victor Urecki
B'Nai Jacob Synagogue
1599 Virginia St. East,
Charleston, WV 25311

Rabbi David Wucher
B'Nai Shalom
P.O. Box 2674
Huntington, WV 25726


General Description

Many nations and ethnic groups from the Middle East are represented in West Virginia. In the Metro Valley, approximately 1,400 individuals claim Arabic as their sole ancestry, and 1,600 individuals of multiple ancestry claim Arabic as their primary heritage. The population centers are in Kanawha, with 27% of the statewide Arabic population, and Cabell which has 8% of the West Virginia Middle Eastern population.

Ever since the coal boom period, the primary nationality of the Middle Eastern community in West Virginia has been Syrian-Lebanese. For example, there are currently approximately 300 families of Syrian-Lebanese background in the Charleston area. Most have roots in West Virginia from prior to the 1920's, while some are first-generation immigrants who came as recently as the 1970's, during the Syrian Civil War. Charleston and Huntington are the contemporary centers of the communities, although in the early twentieth century, there were numerous Syrian-Lebanese in Logan and other mining communities, where they worked as miners and store owners. Vestiges of these mining communities remain in some of the small towns. There is a large annual reunion for families from one region of Lebanon now living in West Virginia and Ohio, called the Kferian Reunion. This weekend event is held in a different location every year.

Today, the Middle Eastern community in West Virginia represents a growing number of nationalities. Other countries represented by at least one family in the region include Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Arabic is the primary language shared by many of these communities. Both Islamic and Orthodox Christian religious traditions are strong in the Middle East, and both have strong representation in West Virginia, as well.

Community Activities

The traditional heritage activities described below for the Middle Eastern communities are generally associated with religious activities in both the Islamic and Orthodox Christian communities. There are also many activities which represent the Middle Eastern community in general, including many of the Middle Eastern dinners. For example, the Haflie is a Middle Eastern community gathering which includes ethnic food and dancing to live traditional Arabic music. One of the largest in the area is held at St. George Orthodox Church in Charleston, usually in October.

Islamic Community

Approximately 300 Islamic families are on the state registry of the Islamic Association. The Islamic community is very diverse, and of a mixed background. Many have roots in the Middle East, including northern Africa, Egypt, and Algeria and many are of other backgrounds, including Indo-Muslims (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Southeast Asian Muslims (Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia), Turks and Turkic peoples (Turkey, central Russia), as well as European and African American backgrounds.

The Muslim communities in Charleston and Huntington are larger today than ever before. There is a mosque in South Charleston, called the Islamic Center of West Virginia which was established in 1988. The Islamic Association of West Virginia has its headquarters in South Charleston and branches in Huntington, Princeton, Morgantown, Logan, and Beckley. Statewide, most associations have a mosque and community building, called the Islamic Center. These are places of worship and also community centers for dinners, a big hall for gatherings, and a part-time school which meets on Sunday for Islamic education and Arabic language courses. In smaller Muslim communities throughout the state, families get together in different homes on holidays for prayer. The largest Islamic community in the state is in the Kanawha Valley, in the vicinity of Charleston. Huntington has approximately 25 Islamic families, and students from Marshall also participate in the Huntington community during the school year. The Huntington community currently uses an apartment for its monthly meetings and social get-togethers. Sometimes it has larger events at Marshall University. The small Muslim community in Logan travels to the mosque in Charleston for religious services.

Muslims observe two major holidays. One is Ramadan which is a period of 30 days of fasting from food and drink, meant to teach self-restraint and remind one of the other poor and hungry people of the world. The second holiday is Al'Adha, "the sacrifice." One of the most common traditional activities associated with Al'Adha involves providing food for the less fortunate. Eid Al'Fitr is the community celebration marking the end of Ramadan, and Eid Al'Adha is the community celebration marking Al'Adha. People in neighboring communities come together to celebrate these events in festive community gatherings.

Orthodox Community

Orthodox Christian communities in general have strong bonds to their ethnic heritage. The Orthodox churches in the area with Middle Eastern roots often include some Arabic language services. In Charleston, approximately 380 families are members of the Saint George Orthodox Church. Approximately 60 to 65% of these have Syrian-Lebanese roots. The rest represent a diverse group including Carpatho-Russian, Polish, Slovakian, and Egyptian. Traditions are maintained through the full cycle of services, the weekly worship, and frequent community activities associated with the church. Saint George has a Lady's Guild and a Women's Club, both with roots in the Syrian-Lebanese community. The Women's Club, called "Shums il Bir," has existed since the 1920's. Some of the Lebanese women in the Charleston area make Arabic embroidery, and many also do traditional Middle Eastern cooking.

Huntington also has an active Orthodox community surrounding the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church. The parish has served the community for around 30 years. Approximately 25 families have Syrian-Lebanese roots (there are perhaps 45 Syrian-Lebanese families in Huntington; many are Muslim). The congregation includes Serbian, Carpatho-Russian, and Greek families, with roots dating to the early twentieth century, as well as several Ethiopian and Bulgarian families who have come to Huntington in more recent years for professional careers in medicine and business. The parish does most services in English, although some is in Church Levonic Arabic and some in Greek. The church sponsors an annual and sometimes semi-annual Middle Eastern dinner.

Recommended Contacts

Mohammad Jamal Daoudi, Imam
Islamic Association of West Virginia
P.O. Box 8414
S. Charleston, WV 25303

Izahz Ahmed, President
Islamic Center
1628 13th Ave.
Huntington, WV 25701

Islamic Association of West Virginia
325 Central Avenue
Logan, WV 25601

Father Olaf Scott
St. George Orthodox Church
P.O. Box 2044
Charleston, WV 25327

Father John Dixon
Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
1 Woodhaven Drive
P.O. Box 2964
Huntington, WV 25728


General Description

In the Metro Valley region, there are approximately 800 Native Americans, which represents approximately 27% of the Native American population in West Virginia.

Community Activities

See the General Description of the Statewide Native American Community

Recommended Contacts

Wayne Appleton
5207 Noyes
Charleston, WV 25304
926-1413 (h)
357-1723 (w)

Suzanne Tewawina
P.O. Box 50
Winfield, WV 25213

Opal C. Paige
Native American Storytelling
13B Circle Drive
Huntington, WV 25701

Joe Candillo


General Description

Although recent to Wayne County, there is a growing Russian Orthodox presence there in the rural Holy Cross Monastery near the town of Wayne. The monks support themselves by making traditional incense and icons, as well as goats milk soap, icon shelves and prayer desks, CD recordings, and other liturgical items. In addition, Christ the Savior Russian Orthodox Church is located in the town of Wayne on Route 152. The church conducts services in English for a congregation of 30, some of whom travel from as far away as Huntington and Charleston.

Community Activities

Church services are open to the public. The monastery welcomes visitors; their daily routine begins at 3:30 a.m. and concludes at 6 p.m. There are limited overnight accommodations for male guests, so arrangements should be made in advance. Products made by the monks are available for sale at the monastery shop or on the Internet. Sunday liturgy and feast day vigils at the monastery begin at 9 a.m., followed by breakfast.

Recommended Contacts

Father Paul Akmolin
Christ the Savior Russian Orthodox Church
PO Box 188
6378 Route 152
Wayne, WV 25570

Anthony Marquette
Holy Cross Monastery
RR 2 Box 2343
Wayne WV 25570


General Description

Scottish ancestry is high in the Metro Valley, where approximately 39% of the Scottish population is found. Kanawha County is home for approximately 17% of the individuals with Scottish ancestry in the state. The primary emigration event from Scotland occurred in the 1700's, and contributed to the earliest stock of American culture. Individuals of Scottish heritage in West Virginia generally trace their ancestry back to this period of immigration. A small portion of the Scottish community is associated with immigration during the coal boom period.

Community Activities

Individuals with Scottish ancestry and interest in their heritage are well-represented in the Metro Valley, but there is no formal organization for the community. There are several heritage activities in the area, including the Saint Andrew's Society of West Virginia and several Celtic societies. The St. Andrew's Society grew out of the Wallace family reunions which were held up until the 1970's, and were a focal point for bringing together families of Scottish descent living in the Metro Valley. The society hosts several events each year, including a Robert Burns dinner in January honoring the poet laureate of Scotland. This event includes a scholarly presentation, genealogy discussions, a tribute to Burns, Scottish dress, food, Scottish singing, and bagpipes playing and is attended by as many as 60 individuals. There is a similar dinner and meeting in late November for the St. Andrew's Society. In the recent past, there have been several Highland games held in the area. Scottish heritage is usually well-represented at the annual Vandalia Gathering at the State Capitol Complex. The Celtic societies in Charleston and Huntington also hold events which promote Scottish heritage, including the recent Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Scottish dancing is taught and performed in the area.

Recommended Contacts

Sean McAllister, President
St. Andrew's Society of West Virginia
205 Carte Street
St. Albans, WV 25177

Mark Burdette
Kanawha Valley Pipe and Drums
112 Meadow Dr.
Scott Depot, WV 25560

Linda Hoskins
Scottish Heritage Society
5141 Midland Trail Drive
Rand, WV 25306


In 1990, Steve and Debbie Starks started the annual Multifest of West Virginia. Held in early August at the State Capitol, Multifest is a celebration of community, culture, and family that draws 20,000 a year with its combination of musical performers and craft exhibits.

Recommended contact

Steve Starks
Multifest of West Virginia
P.O. Box 981
Charleston, WV 25324

Marshall University’s Division of Multicultural Affairs, founded in 1989, promotes diversity, pluralism, and social justice on campus among students, faculty, and staff. Educational opportunities, including scholarships and undergraduate study abroad, and events and programs, are undertaken by the division to bridge boundaries of ethnicity, race, and culture. Founded in 1998, the Harmony Institute is an outreach project of the Division of Multicultural Affairs, and conducts programs for connecting students with the local community to promote understanding and tolerance. Currently the Harmony Institute is recruiting members of the university and the community to conduct and attend multicultural training sessions for schools and organizations in the tri-state area.

Recommended Contact

Dr. Betty Jane Cleckley
Marshall University
110 Old Main
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755

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