Sam Trammell Returns To West Virginia Hometown for Community Fundraiser

September 29, 2009 by  

Sam Trammell as Sam MerlotteBorn in Louisiana, True Blood‘s Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) spent a large part of his childhood in Charleston, West Virginia, and many of his friends and family, including his parents, still live there.  On October 30, Sam will return to Charleston to help support the town’s East End Main Street historic preservation program by participating in the city’s HallowEast fundraising festival.

Sam wanted to participate in the community’s fundraising effort because, he says:

I consider Charleston home. My mom and dad still live there. I really miss it, and I’m excited to see all my friends and family. It’s great to be coming home. …Downtown Charleston and the East End are just amazing. Today, when you look at the ballpark, the Clay Center and Capitol Street, you understand the revitalization has been great. I want to see it continue.

When you live in West Virginia, you take it for granted.  After you leave, you realize how unique Charleston and West Virginia are. So much of the state is untouched, green and beautiful. It’s different from anywhere else in the world. You appreciate it when you’re gone.

Charleston’s Cultural Center will host two receptions with Sam: tickets for the show and a 6 p.m. VIP reception at the Cultural Center are $100, while while tickets for the premium VIP reception at 5 p.m., also at the Cultural Center, are $150.  Sam will then move to Kanawha Players, 309 Beauregard Street, to sit down for an “Inside the Actor’s Studio” style interview, answering questions posed by David Wohl, dean of arts and sciences at West Virginia State University at 7:30 p.m.  Admission for the interview event is $50, and the question/answer session will be followed by a Kanawha Players performance of Dial M for Murder.

While Sam‘s interview is the main attraction during the week’s fundraising events, this inaugural HallowEast festival is full of Halloween-themed fundraisers. As a part of the True Blood cast, Sam feels that he was an obvious choice to highlight the festival’s activities, saying:

It’s a good fit for Halloween. If you’ve read the Charlaine Harris books (on which the show is based), you know she introduces a whole host of fantastical creatures. For sure, it’s a Halloween sort of show.

According to Ric Cavender, Program Director of the East End Main Street organization, “Sam is a star on the rise” and the community is “thrilled and honored he is taking the time to be a part of, and really the highlight of HallowEast.”  Though West Virginia viewers are just as drawn to HBO‘s True Blood and the shape-shifting Sam Merlotte as are other fans across the country, Sam is still surprised by his fame:

It’s always interesting to hear from people who are really into the show.  It attracts a wide demographic. Sometimes, people will ask my dad what’s going to happen next on the show, and he has no idea. It amazes me people in West Virginia are actually keeping up with what I’m doing on the show. The attention is completely new to me.

…It’s a big deal for me to come home and have this sort of attention.  It’s humbling.

According to event organizers, money raised during the festival will be used to help neighborhood businesses in downtown Charleston to promote and preserve the historic district.  Civic mindedness is one of the qualities I love in Sam Merlotte, and I’m proud and happy as a fan to see that Sam Trammell, the actor behind the character, clearly shares those ideals.

Call (304) 340-4253 and visit for more information. Registration for some events will be available at

So if you live in or around West Virginia here is your opportunity to meet Sam Trammell in person and be involved in a worthy cause at the same time.


(Photo credit:  HBO Inc.)