Although he has since traveled all over the United States and overseas, Tomblin said he has never found a place like West Virginia.
"There's no place else with a spirit like ours."
He asked all West Virginians to take part in celebrations around the state this weekend.
"It's not just a piece of history, it's a celebration of a place we all love. I'm absolutely certain our next 150 years will be better than the first 150," he said.
Thursday's program also included music from the 249th West Virginia Army National Guard Band and the Cabell Midland High School Show Choir, as well as an original poem by Marc Harshman, West Virginia's poet laureate.
Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller were scheduled to speak at Thursday's event, but did not make it to Charleston. Rockefeller spokesman Andrew Beckner said the senators remained in Washington to vote on an immigration bill currently before the Senate.
Following Tomblin's remarks, Thomas Marshall, executive vice present of the U.S. Postal Service, unveiled a new Forever Stamp commemorating the state's sesquicentennial year.
Marshall noted the state's unique topography and the many accomplishments of its people, from the first Mother's Day in 1908 to Mary Lou Retton's gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.
He said it was difficult to find a photo that conveyed all of West Virginia's intricacies, until the Postal Service came across photographer Roger Spencer's early morning shot of the Monongahela National Forest.
Postal Service workers were on hand at the state Culture Center on Thursday to sell books of the West Virginia stamp, with special first-day cancellations to prove collectors purchased the stamps on the day of their release.
More sesquicentennial stories