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Health department inspects vendors for 150th festivities

By Candace Nelson

As thousands gather to celebrate the 150th anniversary of West Virginia becoming a state, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department wants to make sure that the hot dogs, pepperoni rolls and funnel cakes are all safe for consumption.

Nasandra Wright, the department's sanitarian supervisor, said more than 25 food vendors will be churning out goodies on the statehouse grounds.

"For this big event, we've met with the planning committee to ensure we're doing everything possible to make sure the food is safe on the grounds," Wright said.

"There are a lot of food vendors and a lot of different kinds of food so we'll have sanitarians out there each day to conduct inspections."

Sanitarians mainly hope to see food handlers washing their hands to prevent contamination and controlling temperatures - making sure hot food is hot and cold food is cold.

Wright said sanitarians also aim to preventing cross-contamination, making sure vendors cook food to the proper temperature and handle it in a secure manner.

The vendors had to receive permits from the department, and it provided them with information on how to operate safely. The department typically inspects larger fairs and festivals, but Wright said it also wanted to ensure this one-of-a-kind celebration was safe.

State officials are hosting events all weekend. They started on Thursday and will run through Sunday. Today's events will include a Broadway musical and a 3-D light show paired with fireworks.

Saturday's events will include a five-mile run, parade along Kanawha Boulevard, free sternwheeler rides, live music, Civil War re-enactors, the Vandalia Gathering, a giant birthday cake and more.

For the complete schedule, visit

Contact writer Candace Nelson at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at


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