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The party's over, but the favors last

by Jude Southerland Kessler
author of Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside

Correction: We previously had published the incorrect email address for Rita Lokerson. The correct address is

Mark and Carol Lapidos have said, "tatty bye," "t'rah," or plain ole "goodbye" to the last of the Beatles fans at the 37th Annual Fest for Beatles Fans in Secaucus, New Jersey. The celebrities are winging their way home. The last chorus of "The End" has been tearfully sung. The conference rooms at the Crowne Plaza are empty until next March.

But zealous fans can still partake of "very strange" Fest Goodies via the internet. And this year, there were some unbelievable purchases for fans with every size pocket book! Here are some of the highlights:

$$$$$ For those of you with BIG BUCKS and a penchant for serious collecting, take a look at the RIAA Gold Record Award presented to the Beatles. Documented, framed, and ready to hang on your wall, this one-of-a-kind artifact could be viewed up close and personal at the Fest. In fact, Gary Hein was on hand to give the complete history of the record in glowing detail. But don't despair! This $125,000 record may still be purchased to hang in your Beatles room via!

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$$$$ Now, if you're not in the BIG BUCKS category, but still want a very rare and unusual item, contact author Judith Kristen (A Date with a Beatle) at to bargain for this promo Beatles poster circa 1964. It is the poster mentioned in Judith's book, and this past weekend it was signed by Freda Kelly! Judith had her Beatles fan club number written on the poster when she was a teenager. This Saturday, Freda noted the Fan Club number and scrawled above it, "You never paid!" Cute! Write to Judith if you're interested.

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$$$ If you're a fan of Sir Macca's "Fireman" releases, check out this unique Fireman set from VeryEnglish in Lancaster, PA. Word on the street is, these are extremely difficult to come by. But Thomas Grosh has your copy waiting for you. Go to and bargain!

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$$ Every girl dreams of being a Beatlette! I know I did. So I wrote to Rita Lokerson whose incredible Beatles purses, jackets, scarves, necklaces, rings, and things are HOT sellers at each Fest for Beatles fans. I asked Lovely Rita (and she is) to make me a one-of-a-kind leather-look mini skirt, just the kind worn by Cavern girls. I sent her a jeans skirt to use as a pattern, and without even seeing me face-to-face, she created a PERFECT fit in the cutest leatherish skirt I've ever put on my body. Love it. The only problem with the "one of a kind" thing is that every girl at the Fest loved the skirt. And now, you can have "The Beatlette Skirt" from Rita, too. Write to her at, and she will make arrangements to make you a skirt of your own in your choice of colors. Price for the custom skirt? $100.

$ If you want just a darn wonderful memento of the weekend and of the lads, take a look at the wonderful poster from Penin Inc. From photos taken in 1993 (before Liverpool was renovated for The Capital of Culture year), you get "The Doors of Liverpool." This includes the homes of all four Beatles, plus The Cavern, The Grapes, The Blue Angel, and even the college flat that Rod Murray, Stu Sutcliffe, and John Lennon rented while at Liverpool College of Art (Gambier Terrace). FAB piece of artwork for only $10. Write to to order.

The Fest may be over, but the party favors can still be yours for the asking! Browse the internet and rest up, wacks! The Chicago Fest will be here before we know it. In fact, while you're browsing, go ahead and buy your tickets. The party is just in intermission.


Published March 29, 2011

This article is Copyright © 2011, The Author, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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