If you're in Sistersville this weekend and hear uproarious laughter emanating from the Elks or see oddly attired women roaming the streets, don't be alarmed. It simply means it is time for the 14th annual Sisters Fest.
A varied assortment of women, both related by blood and just by friendship, will converge on the town for the event that boasts more fun than a slumber party. This year's theme, Sisters Just Wanna Have Fun!, will bring back the 1980s . . . along with its big hair, obsession with MTV, and arcade games. No doubt there will be some leg warmers, mini skirts, and neon on the women who attend this year's event.
The festivities get underway Friday with registration at 5 p.m., followed by the appetizer and dessert contest at 6 p.m. The attendees bring in their favorite foods to share with others at this time of mingling. The ladies sample the fare and vote on their favorites; winners are announced and awarded at the banquet Saturday.
At 7:30 p.m. the real laughter begins as the ladies bring their best-or at least most entertaining-acts to the variety show. There is no judging as this is all just for fun. After all, as Lauper's song says, "That's all they really want. . . some fun. . . when the working day is done. . . Girls-they wanna have fun."
All of these events take place in the Sistersville Elks ballroom, located on Charles Street across from the Wells Inn.
The facility serves as the headquarters for Sisters Fest and is handicap accessible by the back entrance, near the Par Mar.
Saturday begins with breakfast in the ballroom prepared and served by the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department, 8-10 a.m. Then at 10 a.m. the Sistersville General Hospital Relay for Life team will conduct a Bingo game that is open to the public (Sisters Fest registration not required). The prizes will be various items including ones from Pampered Chef. Cost will be $10 for 10 games and $5 for the coverall.
A change from past years, the luncheon will be held at the Sistersville Country Club. The ladies can drive themselves to that venue, or enjoy free chauffeur service from the Elks in a van or classic Packard. The lunch will still be prepared by the Sistersville Lions Club Women, who always do a marvelous job. After lunch the fun will resume at the Elks ballroom. There will be a corn hole tournament at 1:30 p.m. and the always hilarious "How Well Do You Know Your Sister?" game show at 2:30 p.m.
At 5 p.m. the women will gather in front of the Wells Inn and proceed down Wells Street to the post office where a group photo will be taken on the front steps. "Community groups and businesses are welcome to join in the fun - by participating or watching," said organizer Anna Cooper. For more information contact her at 304-532-8403.
The final event of the weekend will be the banquet at 6 p.m. The Elks will cater with a main entree of pork loin. Not only do attendees get a final chance to cement newfound friendships, but various contest winners are announced and door prizes are given.
For entertainment purposes, at the banquet on Saturday, members of the Sistersville Community Theater will perform a scene from the three-act stage play, "Wine and Afterthoughts". The play, written by Judy Light and directed by Lisa Fox, is scheduled to be performed in its entirety in June.
"Wine and Afterthoughts" tells the story of friends and friendships, ulterior motives, and love lost and found. It is a light comedy about women, for women, perfect for the Sisters Fest audience.
"Cast members are going to perform just one short scene from the play," Light said. "It's a scene involving only three characters, but it's a very important scene in the play and one we hope will whet the audiences' appetite enough so they'll want to return to see the entire play in June."
"The three women who will be performing, Cassie Cockerham, Jessie Swofford, and Amy Yeater, have worked very hard on their roles and I think the scene we've chosen to do will have more than one person interested to see how the whole thing works out in the end."
This year's Sisters Fest is dedicated to the memory of Pam Smythe Steele. A hard-working volunteer in Sistersville, Steele was instrumental in helping with Sisters Fest in its early years. Unfortunately her life was cut too short by illness. This year marks 10 years since her passing.
The cost to attend Sisters Fest is done on an a la carte basis with all attendees required to pay an $8 registration fee. After that the fee is based on what events sisters want to attend. The appetizer contest, variety show, corn hole tournament, and game show are included in the registration, but additional charges are levied for breakfast, $6; luncheon, $10; and banquet, $14.
For more information about Sisters Fest join the Sisters Fest group on Facebook; visit www.sistersfest.com; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Linda Marrin at 218-820-1772. Also, Sisters Fest is featured in the current WV Living magazine that just hit newsstands this week.