— — It has been a year full of lingering magic, country music stars and even a few ghostly encounters. During 2011, the two Virginias played host to several pop culture events, some which brought record-breaking crowds. Not to be left out of national events, local residents came together to celebrate the final chapter of a beloved series, watch a royal wedding and build up two tourist destinations in Bluefield. In case you missed out, here are the local top 10 pop culture stories for 2011.
10. Royal wedding part II
According to Nielsen Media Research, 22.8 million U.S. viewers and 18.6 million households watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, despite the 6 a.m., wake-up time. More households watched this 2011 wedding than the 1981 wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Many local residents opted to watch the ceremony via the Internet, an option not available for the first royal wedding. Mothers, who watched the first wedding in 1981, encouraged their daughters to watch the 2011 wedding. Many criticized the wedding, but it isn’t often a bride becomes a princess.
9. Author celebrates Appalachia
Best-selling author Jeannette Walls returned to Bluefield College in November of 2011. Walls — a native of McDowell County — wrote the book “The Glass Castle.” Based on her childhood, the book describes a life of poverty in southern West Virginia. She left at age 16 and became a well-known journalist, author and TV personality. However, she kept her past a secret. The memoir exposed all in 2005. Since then, she was written “Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel.”
8. Local ghost hunter group
appears on national TV
A Princeton ghost hunting group, Appalachee Paranormal, appeared on a Travel Channel reality TV show on July 29, 2011. The group learned about “Paranormal Challenge” through Twitter. In the episode, Appalachee Paranormal investigated the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, competing against another group, G.A.L.S. Paranormal. The group won the challenge. The series ended in September. The six-member group performs free paranormal investigations in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.