Marble Fest Is Rolling Near, September 28-30
The streets of Sistersville, W.Va. will be lined with marble displays, food vendors and much more while thousands of visitors attend the 19th annual Sistersville Marble Festival, Sept. 28-30. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday event has been known to draw national and international attention while providing a fun and unique experience for local residents of all ages. “There are many excellent marble shows held throughout the United States,” said founder and coordinator Jim King. “Most are done in motels with room to room trading. I wanted something that was more festive and for the whole family, so that everyone could enjoy it.”
With that idea in mind, King and a group of dedicated individuals launched the first Sistersville Marble Festival in 2000. The festival, for which attendance and vendor setup is free, thrives by giving collectors a way to buy, sell and trade marbles. Those new to the festival, as well as those who have attended each year, can look forward to enjoying the friendly atmosphere of downtown Sistersville. In addition to providing free entertainment to the public, the festival also serves as a celebration of the area’s rich history of “marble mania,” seeking to bring that history to present light. At one time there were more than 20 marble factories within a 60-mile radius of Sistersville, which was located at the heart of marble country. When playing marbles hit its peak worldwide, a majority of the toy marbles children used for their games had been produced in this area. Today the town of Sistersville is located between two of the remaining American-based toy marble manufacturers: Marble King located four miles north of Sistersville in Paden City, W.Va. and Jabo Vitro Marble Factory, located 25 miles south of Sistersville in Lower Newport, Ohio.
The festival recognizes such history and heritage and provides a variety of yearly traditions, including: handmade marble making demonstrations by world-renowned glass artists, a children’s marble tournament, a silent marble auction, more beautiful marbles than most could imagine, flea market items and a lot more. Local restaurants and food trucks are a great source of fuel as marble enthusiasts and other spectators eagerly enjoy all this event has to offer. Vendor setup has always been free, allowing a large variety for visitors to explore. Another unforgettable staple of the Sistersville Marble Festival is the annual, commemorative marble. Each year the festival decides to acknowledge something different as an image on those rare marbles. This year’s marble will feature the first free standing Sistersville General Hospital building that was located along the beautiful Ohio River on Riverside Drive. The hospital, at this location, served Sistersville and the surrounding communities from 1911 to 1913. After the great flood of 1913, it was moved to higher ground. Collectors and those wanting a piece of this marble history will have to act fast, because there will be only 2,018 of these limited edition marbles in existence. For more information about free vendor setup for selling marbles, other collectibles or baked items, or to be added to the Sistersville Marble Festival mailing list, contact Jim King at 304-652-3032.