As the music filled the room, groups of children locked arms and danced in circles as their parents looked on and clapped their hands.
Representatives from the U.S. Postal Service were on hand selling sheets of commemorative stamps, tote bags and other collectibles.
Visitors took turns signing the state's birthday card, which was propped up on a stand inside the lobby's entrance. By the time the cake was passed out, the massive card was already crowded with signatures.
Outside the Cultural Center, visitors lined up in front of a tent where workers were frantically selling sesquicentennial merchandise.
Corey Zinn, one of the workers, said that business had been booming all day.
"It's been nonstop," Zinn said. "Ever since we started this morning, people have just been swarming around."
Besides the licensed sesquicentennial merchandise, visitors could purchase food from vendors set up across the Capitol lawn.
Some vendors offered traditional carnival food like Italian ice and funnel cake. Others specialized in West Virginia favorites like pepperoni rolls and hot dogs.
Not everyone enjoying the festivities was a West Virginian. Many visitors, including Ellen King of Christiansburg, Va., came from out of state.
King said she was on vacation, headed to Parkersburg to visit Blennerhassett Island, but decided to stop into Charleston to take part in the celebrations.
"I love to see the quilts (hanging in the Cultural Center)," King said. "And I wanted to see the dome of the Capitol, it's beautiful to see from the river."
Contact writer Charles Young at charles.yo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.
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