Sisters Fest Season
(Editor’ note: The following guest column was written by Kelly Solomon, the granddaughter of Shannon Kelly and the late Adam Kelley, Tyler Star News editor emeritus)
For everything there is a season.
I was reminded of this by my aunt this past weekend. Instead of winter, spring, summer and fall, she measures time by Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sisters Fest and so on. This past weekend was the season of Sisters Fest.
All of the women of my family and some of the men descended upon the little town of Sistersville to celebrate with family and friends. This year, our little contingent grew with the addition of my sister-in-law from England. Our family has evolved and changed, as has the festival that brought us together in mid-March for the last dozen years or so.
The theme of Sisters Fest 2013 was the 80s. As I walked Main Street, I couldn’t help but to remember Sistersville in 1980. I was six years old that year. Main Street was a two-way street with parallel parking and I was allowed to go anywhere I wanted in the town all by myself. What interested me most was Locke’s shoe store, the Five and Dime, Mr. Miedel’s Western Auto and, of course, the Tyler Star News which was in the building across from City Hall where the Coin Laundry is today.
The town has changed through the years and the citizens of Sistersville have adapted and evolved. There have been great fires, economic hardships, money coming in and money going out, property changing hands, buildings falling into disrepair, stoplights added and stoplights taken away. Throughout it all, there has been a core community that in itself has evolved. Had it not been for the community and Tourism Office of Sistersville, Sisters Fest would not exist today.
What a fantastic season and one that has continued to grow year after year. The weekend was filled with generations of women whose dates of birth range from the 1920s to the 1990s. Ladies (and gentlemen for that matter) born in the 1990s, please use all of the resources of today to learn about yesterday. I swear I think I heard my grandfather, Adam Kelly the “Country Editor” of the Tyler Star News, guffaw at the guessed answers to the trivia question, “Who said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.’?”
In fairness, the 1980s are firmly in my living memory.
That being said, the season of Sisters Fest affords us many opportunities to use more than Google to learn about history. We learn from each other. In the collective living memories of my family, we remember days without indoor plumbing, working on the farm, all of the wars since WWII, landing on the moon and the days before cell phones. This might seem like a disjointed list, but it’s in our stories and in our history. As we gather together in the evenings after the festivities of the day, we get to talk, we get to laugh and we get to remember.
Sisters Fest is often a season of reflection for me. I reflect upon those who are no longer with us and places that are no longer there. At the same time, I recognize how things change and evolve. Contrary to what my cousin may think, not all change is bad. Seasons mark change and this Spring will be a little bit different than last Spring. Next year’s Sisters Fest will be different too.
This year, though, was a definitely a blast.
According to my aunt, we have Beach season, Football, Thanksgiving and Christmas before the season of Sisters Fest rolls back around. I’ll be there in 2014 with my evening gown to celebrate on the red carpet. Hope to see you there!