CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Organizers believe FestivALL 2013 will be the most heavily attended in the arts festival's history, as this year's events line up with the state's 150th birthday celebrations.
FestivALL officials also announced that Cross Lanes native Kathy Mattea will headline the free Live on the Levee concert at Haddad Riverfront Park on June 21, which is the country music star's birthday.
The jazz and R&B band Kool and the Gang will also come to the Capital City to perform at the Mayor's Concert on June 27.
The band, known for songs such as "Celebration" and "Get Down on It," will play at the Clay Center. Tickets for the concert are on sale now and range in price from $43 to $71.
Since West Virginia will be celebrating its Sesquicentennial this summer, FestivALL officials opted to combine some of their events with the state's birthday shindig, Executive Director Larry Groce said.
"This is a special year for the state as we celebrate 150 years of West Virginia," he said. "We are fortunate that the state's Sesquicentennial on June 20 is followed by 10 days of FestivALL.
"Because of that connection, we have been working closely with several state leaders, the Sesquicentennial Commission and entertainers with connections to West Virginia to make this year's event a major celebration of and for West Virginia."
Groce believes combining some of the events will help draw the largest crowd to ever attend the arts festival.
"We're really expect a lot of people," Groce said. "Rather than come for a day, we think people will come on Thursday and stay through the weekend."
Groce is excited to see Mattea perform for one of the free Live on the Levee concerts.
"I'm just really happy she agreed to do this," he said.
Some of the staple FestivALL events will change slightly to coincide with those held by the Sesquicentennial Commission. For example, the annual Art Parade will take place on Kanawha Boulevard instead of Capitol Street, Groce said.
The event, dubbed the 150th History and Art Parade, will incorporate both history and art.
The parade will step off on Kanawha Boulevard at an as-yet undetermined spot. The parade will then head east on the boulevard to the Capitol Complex, Groce said. The parade is scheduled for June 22.
The annual Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff will also be moved from in front of Haddad Riverfront Park to the boulevard in front of the Capitol Complex. The chili cookoff will also be held on June 22.
"And we'll have music there all day this year," Groce said.