Memorabilia To Be Featured At Symposium

Terry Crain

The Beatles at the Ridge festival will once again feature an Authors and Artists Symposium with renowned Beatles experts and enthusiasts.  The festival will run Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, in downtown Walnut Ridge, Ark.  The symposium takes place at The Studio, located on Main Street.  

This year, attendees will get an extra treat as featured presenters will not only share their experiences, but also display rare pieces of memorabilia, some of it one-of-a-kind.

Terry Crain, who is celebrating the release of his new book, “NEMS and the Business of Selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S. 1964-1966,” is just one of several who will be making presentations and showcasing memorabilia during the event.

“As I researched my new book, I carefully compiled a list of 150 items that were created and produced during that time frame,” Crain said, referring to 1964-1966. “These 150 items are special. I like to think that in the book I give readers ‘a memory trigger’ … a moment in which they say, ‘Hey! I remember this!’ And it allows the reader to be sentimental. I want to take them back to that wonderful time of their youth.”

John Lennon expert Jude Southerland-Kessler, who organizes the symposium along with her co-chair Lanea Stagg, will be bringing a variety of items from her own collection including 1960s Beatles cards, John Lennon children’s art bookends and a 1964 Beatles wallet.

She noted that along with items that people may find familiar, there will be some true conversation pieces.

“I’m bringing John’s forks from the 1964 North American Tour,” she said. “They were given to me by stewardess Betty Birdsall. These are things you don’t see in the usual exhibits. There are going to be some rare things that belonged to the Beatles, and we’ll be bringing those to show people.”

Southerland-Kessler noted that Sara Schmidt, author of “Happiness is Seeing the Beatles,” will be bringing Beatles Fan Club memorabilia, and Patricia Gallo-Stenman, author of “Diary of a Beatlemaniac,” will be showcasing items from her vast Beatles collection.

She said attendees are also encouraged to break out their classics and share them for the event.

“We’re telling everybody, this is your year to dig into the attic or into the box that’s stored under your bed and dust off your Beatles sweatshirts and t-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and buttons and join us,” she said.

Among other items slated to be on display are the NEMS Beatles Scrapbook, Beatles Russian nesting dolls, Beatles hairspray, Remco dolls, buttons and much more.

Symposium attendees will be able to view the memorabilia and visit with the presenters between presentations, which are scheduled on Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21.

The Studio will also house the Argenta Collection, an exhibit of rare Beatles photographs, and Ken Orth’s “Meet the Look-Alikes,” a collection of art pieces, album covers, T-shirts and more inspired by The Beatles.

For a full schedule of the Authors and Artists Symposium and more information on the Beatles at the Ridge festival, which also includes two outdoor stages, vendors and other activities, visit beatlesattheridge.com.

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