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American Girl event sells out, then expands to three groups over two days

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SACKETS HARBOR — Hundreds of fans of the American Girl dolls and books will come to the village this weekend from across the country for a series of sold-out tea events at the Battlefield site.

The village has been linked to the national company since last fall, when American Girl selected its new doll, Caroline, to represent the War of 1812 in the village.

“This reaches a different audience to experience the War of 1812 story,” said Constance B. Barone, manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site.

During the three events, author Kathleen Ernst will talk about the books she wrote about the Caroline character, and participants will take part in a formal tea and book signings, and have a chance to win a Caroline doll of their own.

Mrs. Barone said the battlefield’s promotion of the event was placing a few fliers locally. However, with the listing of the event by the company and the author, the event quickly drew the attention of its nationwide fan base and sold out.

With the initial Saturday afternoon selling out in a matter of weeks, the company and author agreed to accommodate a second group that day.

“The author didn’t want to turn anybody away,” Mrs. Barone said. However, the interest was so high the company set up a third event for Sunday morning.

Overall, Mrs. Barone said, the event drew about 500 inquiries, and with the three events about 330 people will be able to participate, with several more on a waiting list.

Among the places she said she had heard people will be coming from for the weekend are Seattle, Wash., and St. Louis, Mo., and from across the state.

Mrs. Barone said she was excited about talking about the battlefield’s history to fans of the books, which are written to be historically accurate.

The Greater Sackets Harbor Chamber of Commerce will be using the events to debut a new pamphlet centered on historical activities for children to see around the village area, pulling inspiration from the Caroline books and Hope Irvin Marston’s “Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey.”

The three seatings, held at the picnic pavilion near the site’s Hill Street parking lot, will go from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday.

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