96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® – The Astins Return. Bella Astin to reign as Queen Shenandoah XCVI
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President Sharen Gromling is pleased to announce that Isabella Louise Astin has accepted the role of Queen Designate XCVI for the 2023 Festival. Known to family and friends as “Bella, the third daughter of Sean and Christine Astin who resides with her family in California will be returning to Winchester.
This year’s theme: LIVE. LOVE. BLOOM reflects the love of the Bloom community as it nears 100 years of celebrating. How very appropriate it is that the Festival continues to make connections with those the community learned to love over the years and celebrities who loved the Festival back. As the area gets ready to welcome Bella Astin as its new queen, take a look back at the “Astin years.”
In 2004 Sean Astin was the Festival’s Grand Marshal. It was a coup for the Festival as Astin had just finished the three Lord of the Rings films and was known, additionally, for his roles in Goonies and Rudy. As a family man whose daughter, Bella, was not born until July of the following year, he and the Festival began a relationship. The relationship has lasted nearly 20 years. Ten years later, 2014, the Astins returned to Winchester for Alexandra Louise Astin, Ali, to become Queen. Her sister, Elizabeth, followed four years later as Queen in 2018.
This year as Isabella Louise Astin will become the third Astin daughter to be Queen, her father, Sean, winner of multiple acting awards, her mother, Christine, who is an Academy Award nominated producer, and her two sisters will watch as Bella takes the stage on May 5 to be crowned.
Bella is a senior at Oaks Christian High School. Her interests include, as well as her usual studies, acting, photography, and film. She is a FemStem student which raises women’s voices in science, technology, engineering and math. She volunteers at the local animal shelter and often photographs the puppies looking for their “forever homes.”
Bella is an activist for animal rights and for the environment. Bella interned with the Felidae Conservation Fund to help wildcats in the California landscape. Her inspirations are Jane Goodall and Steve Irwin and Bella hopes to produce documentaries of animals in need around the world. Bella envisions herself behind the camera focused on animals.
Queen-designate Bella will attend the Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner held in her honor at 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 4. She will appear at various Festival events on Friday, May 5, prior to her crowning at the all-new production of the traditional majestic Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, showcasing the talent of the youth in her court. She will ride in the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade on Friday and then dance evening away at the Realty ONE Group Old Towne Queen’s Ball, presented by Insurance Center of Winchester held in her honor. Queen Bella will reign over the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade on Saturday as she sits on her throne atop the Queen’s float accompanied by her maids of honor, little maids and pages.
The Astins are eager to return to Winchester to Live. Love. Bloom once more.
For the full Festival schedule, go to www.thebloom.com for all the events, times, tickets, and other festival information.
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The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of springtime and the apple blossoms in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley through events and initiatives that enhance community spirit and showcases our local agricultural heritage.