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Sisters Fest announces Doll as guest speaker

By Staff | Mar 3, 2010

Sisters Fest is pleased to announce that Susan Doll, author of many books including co-author of Haunted Tales from the Holler which includes ghost stories of Tyler County, will be the guest speaker at the annual event’s banquet to be held March 20 at the Elks ballroom in Sistersville.

“We are so pleased that Susan Doll is able to join us for Sisters Fest,” said Amy Witschey, a member of the planning committee. “When we were thinking of this year’s Mardi Gras theme, we thought of how New Orleans has a rich paranormal history and thought her ghost stories book might mesh well with the theme.”

Doll plans to give some parahistory of New Orleans and then segue into West Virginia occurrences, undoubtedly touching on the abundant stories of paranormal activity at Sistersville’s Wells Inn.

But Doll, whose mother lives in Tyler County, has penned much more than just a small booklet on local ghost stories. She was written extensively on film and popular culture for a variety of publications, including Encyclopedia Britannica, Facts on File, and Magill’s Survey of Cinema. She has authored a career biography on Marilyn Monroe titled Marilyn: Her Life and Legend and several books on Elvis Presley, including her latest, Elvis for Dummies, as well as The Films of Elvis Presley, Elvis: Forever in the Groove, and Elvis: American Idol.

Doll has coauthored books with other writers, including collaborating on Haunted Tales from the Holler with her favorite writing partner, Grace Morrow, writing Florida on Film with David Morrow, and contributing to Blanche Lazzell: The Making of an American Modernist for the University of West Virginia Press.

Holds a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern University, Doll works as a writer and researcher for Facets Multi-Media in Chicago. Facets is an arts organization devoted to showcasing foreign, independent, documentary films.

She also teaches film studies at Oakton Community College in the Chicagoland area and blogs for the Turner Classic Movies blogsite.

“We are very lucky to have Doll, her mother, and her aunt join us for the banquet,” said Witschey.

The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. and include a meal that tips its jester hat to the New Orleans tradition with peppersteak over rice, jambalaya, corn bread muffins, cole slaw, and, for dessert, classic king cake where there will be a winner at each table.

There will also be a live dixieland jazz band, recognition of contest winners, and door prize drawings. Only those present at the banquet can win door prizes.

A two-day event, Sisters Fest begins March 19 with a dessert and appetizer contest at 6 p.m., followed by the always popular variety show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s activities include a pancake breakfast, game show, luncheon in the Durham Mansion, scavenger hunt, second line umbrella parade, group picture, and banquet.

Sandy Lasick is the parade chairman and invites any group that wants to be involved in the parade to call her at 652-4242 before March 15.

In-person registration will begin Friday at 5 p.m. and they are strongly encouraging pre-registration. It makes planning and the line at the registration table go more smoothly.

The cost to attend Sisters Fest is done on an a la carte basis with all attendees required to pay a $7 registration fee. After that the fee is based on what events sisters want to attend. The appetizer contest, variety show, and game show are included in the registration, but additional charges are levied for breakfast, $5; luncheon, $10; and banquet, $14. The total for all events is $36. Registrations may be mailed to Sisters Fest, P.O. Box 132, Sistersville, WV 26175. For more information about Sisters Fest visit www.sistersfest.com or www.myspace.com/sistersfest; e-mail sistersfest@hotmail.com, or call Betsy Westfall at 304-771-8699.