Charleston is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, the city had a population of 51,400. Charleston is the center of government, commerce, and industry for Kanawha County, of which it is the county seat. Early industries important to Charleston included salt and the first natural gas well. Later, coal became central to economic prosperity in the city and the surrounding area. Today, trade, utilities, government, medicine, and education play central roles in the city’s economy.
Charleston is the home of the West Virginia Power minor league baseball team, the West Virginia Wild minor league basketball team, and the annual 15-mile (24 km) Charleston Distance Run. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are in the city, and West Virginia University, Marshall University, and West Virginia State University have campuses in the area.
Many festivals and events were also incorporated into the calendar, including Multifest, Vandalia Festival, a July 4 celebration with fireworks at Haddad Riverfront Park, and the already popular Sternwheel Regatta, which was founded in 1970, provided a festive atmosphere for residents to enjoy. In 2005 FestivALL Charleston was established and has grown into a ten-day festival offering a variety of performances, events and exhibits in music, dance, theatre, visual arts and other entertainments.