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Sisters Fest approaches

By Staff | Mar 17, 2010

This year’s Sisters Fest in Sistersville may end up being the biggest, most colorful party yet as women descend upon the riverfront town for the Mardi Gras-style celebration.

To go along with the theme, the Lazy River Jazz Band from Monroe County will be playing their upbeat New Orleans-style Dixieland music during Saturday’s banquet. The local gem got their band together six years ago and has played for many festivals, fairs, parties, and concerts in eastern Ohio and West Virginia. Now they can add the unique Sisters Fest to their resume. The band also has a religious program had has played in several area churches.

Band members are Scott Emerick on keyboard, Chuck Merckle on trumpet, Paul Ring on trombone, Jack Skidmore on guitar, Roger Brosie on banjo, and Steve Casto on drums. They will provide some fabulous dinner music as the sisters gather in the Elks ballroom and feast on peppersteak over rice, jambalaya, corn bread muffins, and cole slaw.

Also, members of the Sisters Fest committee will be meeting Friday morning to create fresh king cakes for each table at the banquet. The person at each table who receives the traditional baby in their piece will win the centerpiece. Also, there will be other door prize drawings and recognition of contest winners. Only those present at the banquet can win door prizes.

After dinner author Susan Doll will 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.

With the theme, “It’s Raining Sisters”, attendees are getting their fanciful, gaudy second-line umbrellas ready for the parade that will precede the banquet, beginning in front of the Elks at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The second line is the tradition of followers of the main parade who walk alongside the action. Often they twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air to show their appreciation.

Innocent bystanders in town probably won’t know what to think when they see all the enthusiastic women in colorful, gaudy outfits carrying embellished umbrellas. The umbrellas will be judged and a winner will be announced at the banquet.

The parade will go up Charles Street, turn north on Wells Street, and end at the Sistersville Post Office where a group photo will be taken.

Those events are the conclusion of the two-day event, but the fun commences in earnest at 6 p.m. Friday when there will be dessert and appetizer contests in the ballroom at the Elks Lodge.

Attendees get to sample the creations and vote on their favorites. Prizes are given at the banquet. Also, participants are encouraged to bring the recipes and they will be put on www.sistersfest.com after the weekend.

Following the food and fun, including some mixer games to help attendees get to know each other better, the variety show will begin on the ballroom stage at 7:30 p.m. Sister groups get up their nerve to take the stage at the Elks and sing a song, do a skit, etc. Some are serious, but most are comical. There is no judging or prizes, just fun and entertainment.

While it is not officially part of Sisters Fest, attendees are welcome to take part in karaoke, hosted by Carman Harman in the Elks bar, as the Elks has agreed to make all the “sisters” honorary members for the weekend.

Saturday morning begins with a pancake breakfast, 8:30-10:30 a.m., that includes pancakes, sausage, bacon, etc. All proceeds will go to the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department whose volunteers will be cooking and serving.

While you enjoy the good food, at 9:30 a.m. the annual time for a game show will begin. The return of ‘Sister Squabble!’, patterned after Family Feud, will entertain attendees.

Once again Dan and Linda Marrin have opened their Durham Mansion for a luncheon and tour beginning at 12:30 p.m. There will not be a hat contest, as there has at the tea in years past. However, attendees are encouraged to bring old eyeglasses for donation to the Lions Club Women who will be serving the luncheon.

The afternoon will be filled with a scavenger hunt around Sistersville, giving attendees a chance to figure out clues and enjoy the sights of the historic town. They may even learn a bit about its history in the process. This event begins at 2 p.m. Clues will be given at the Elks ballroom.

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. “Where else can you have a weekend of fun with your sister and/or friends for only $36.00, which includes three meals, four if you count the appetizers for dinner on Friday night?” asks Betsy Westfall, committee member.

For more information about Sisters Fest visit www.sistersfest.com or www.myspace.com/sistersfest; e-mail or sistersfest@hotmail.com, or call Betsy Westfall at 304-771-8699.