CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin were joined by hundreds of West Virginians at the State Capitol Thursday evening for this year’s Joyful Night celebration. The annual event kicks off the holiday season with the lighting of the state’s Christmas trees.
During the celebration, the governor and first lady along with hundreds of guests toured beautifully decorated trees on the State Capitol grounds. The evening began with the lighting of the North Plaza tree donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ray Fewell of Winfield. Shortly after, the crowd made their way to the Lincoln Plaza for a special tribute to West Virginia veterans, military members and their families around the tree donated by Mr. and Mrs. Al Tolliver of Danese. They then visited the trees inside the Capitol and ended the evening with the reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by the governor and first lady in the Governor’s Mansion.
This year’s event showcased several special trees. West Virginia talent is on display on the ArtisTree, which showcases ornaments crafted by West Virginia artisans and artists in the foyer of the Governor’s Mansion. A tree for our state’s youngest artists is also on display in the rotunda of the State Capitol. And a new tradition this year, the Tomblins collected photos for a special military recognition tree that is on display in the Governor’s Reception Room.
“Each tree, and the ornaments that make them beautiful, tell a story of who we are as West Virginians,” First Lady Tomblin said. “I’m truly grateful to the many artists-both young and old-who have offered to showcase their talents at the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion during this year’s holiday season.”
During the Joyful Night celebration, the governor and first lady donated to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive and encouraged all West Virginians to support charitable causes.
“May we be reminded that this is the season of giving, a time to celebrate with friends, both old and new,” Gov. Tomblin said. “We have much to be thankful for this year, and I encourage all West Virginians to share their blessings this holiday season.”