History and culture meet in Charleston on Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is hopping in Hip, Historic, Almost Heaven! Kick off your summer in Charleston with a flurry of festivals and concerts.

Weekend events and activities

Start your Memorial Day Weekend off right at Haddad Riverfront Park with the first Live on the Levee show of the season! Opening night features Santa Cruz with opening act The Unit. Fireworks will follow the show and there will be plenty of food and beverage vendors set up on Kanawha Boulevard. These free concerts take place every Friday evening through Labor Day weekend.

The 43rd annual Vandalia Gathering kicks off Friday, May 24 on the grounds of the State Capitol Complex. The weekend-long celebration of the traditional arts, music, dance, stories, crafts and food of West Virginia features string band concerts and competitions highlighting some of the region’s finest old-time musicians. Bring a lawn chair and sit a spell while you take in the sounds of Appalachia—or bring your own instrument and join in a jam session!On Saturday, May 25, bring your appetite to the annual Taste-of-ALL Charleston, part of FestivALL’s Memorial Day Weekend celebrations. Purchase tickets to sample entrees, appetizers and desserts from 19 of Charleston’s best eateries, including Bridge Road Bistro, Chow Thai and Rock City Cake Co. Festivities include live entertainment, kids’ activities, cooking demos, cook-offs and more! Tickets are only 50 cents each; each taste ranges from one to six tickets. (You can always buy more tickets if you run out!) There’s also a VIP experience that includes early entry, reserved seating and exclusive entertainment. All activities take place inside Four Points by Sheraton and outside on Kanawha Boulevard.

On Saturday, free shuttle service will be provided between the Vandalia Gathering at the Capitol Complex and Taste-of-ALL Charleston downtown. Metered parking is free on weekends at the Capitol, so you can park there and hop a shuttle downtown!

If you’re stuffed to the gills from all that delicious Taste-of-ALL food, walk it off with a hike on the Sunrise Carriage Trail. The gravel path begins at the foot of the South Side Bridge and winds 1.4 miles through the trees up to Bridge Road, where you’ll find quaint shops and galleries. Highlights of the trail include historic monuments, flowering bushes and scenic overlooks of downtown.

Honoring those who served

While you’re at the State Capitol Complex, you can pay your respects at the Veteran’s Memorial that honors more than 10,000 West Virginians who made the ultimate sacrifice in 20th century wars and conflicts. The two-story, walk-through monument is surrounded by a reflecting pool, its interior walls inscribed with the names of the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country.





You’ll also find exhibits on our veterans and the wars they fought at the West Virginia State Museum, located in the basement of the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free.


On the hill overlooking Charleston’s East End, historic Spring Hill Cemetery has a veterans’ section near the front gate, where there are more than 250 graves. The cemetery, with its scenic views of the city and its beautiful stone monuments, is a favorite place for a stroll.

Come experience history, culture and lots of great food in #CWV this weekend!