By Leslie Fitzwater
According to 2000 U.S. Census data, West Virginia’s population is 95 percent white. This statistic, however, can be misleading when you consider that this racial category includes people with origins not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East and North Africa, and comprises West Virginians of Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese and Arab heritage. Statistics also don’t convey the warm welcome residents extend to people of diversity, nor how eagerly they embrace the cultures and heritage of those who travel great distances to make West Virginia their home. In return, West Virginians who trace their ethnic roots outside the United States happily share with their American family the culture of their native lands through heritage festivals filled with music, dance and food.
- celebrate the state’s diversity through art, music, education, cultural programs and cuisine.
West Virginia Black Heritage Festival
- three-day event that takes place every year during the weekend after Labor Day.
- Lebanese-American culture and heritage are showcased every August in Wheeling at Mahrajan.
St. George Greek Festival
- a touch, and definitely a taste, of Greece to the Mountain State.
Italian Heritage Festivals
- celebrate Italian heritage, culture and food through a variety of festivals