To all of our volunteers, fans, supporters, and the community at large, public safety has been and always will be the top priority of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s recent recommendation regarding large gatherings, the Board of Directors has made the painful decision to suspend all planning for the 93rd Festival. As you can imagine we do not take this difficult decision lightly, but one we had to make for the safety of our community. Please remember such an action is not without precedent. The Festival suspended all activities for four years during WWII. We will get through these trying times together just as we did then. Watch for updated information on our website at www.thebloom.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Thank you for your support of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. We feel the future of the Festival remains strong.
One of the great community traditions during Festival time is the hanging of the pink & green. We want to encourage everyone to display your buntings, banners and flags as you always do. If we can’t celebrate together, let’s share the spirit of Apple Blossom by painting the town in our favorite colors. It is and will always be FOREVER APPLE BLOSSOM!
Barry Carper, President
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
The selection of Princesses to serve in the Court of Queen Shenandoah XCIII for the 2020 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® has been announced by festival officials. The princesses include Catherine Cather Burton, Sarah Lucille Dalton, Sarah Elson, Catherine Grace Keim, and Lauren Ashleigh Taylor.
Catherine Burton is the daughter of Cynthia and Jim Burton of Winchester, VA. She is the granddaughter of Patricia and Irvine Cather Jr. of Winchester, Lina and James Burton Sr of Aldie, VA, and the late Nancy Burton. She is a freshman at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University majoring in political science. Catherine is a 2019 graduate of John Handley High School. She was the co-captain of the JHHS golf team, senior class secretary, and a Handley Scholar. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was selected to the Homecoming Court. Catherine’s mother served as a Maid of Honor in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXI, Mary Clancy Collins.
Sarah Dalton is the daughter of Julie and Keith Dalton of Bluemont, VA. She is the granddaughter of Elizabeth and William Minor of Winchester, James “Wayne” Dalton of Middletown, VA, and the late Julia Dalton. She is a first year student at the University of Virginia majoring in nursing. She is a member of Green Ground, Student Nurse Association of Virginia (SNAV), Madison House, and Synapse. Sarah is a 2019 graduate of Clarke County High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). She was a member of the track team, the debate team, and participated in Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) throughout high school, serving as Vice-President her junior and senior years. Sarah is currently a CNA at the Winchester Medical Center.
Sarah Elson is the daughter of Joanna and Robert Elson of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Betty Jo and Myron Dickerson of Winchester and the late Hildegarde Gieseler and Berton Elson. She is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in mass communications with a concentration in digital journalism. She is a contributing writer for “The Commonwealth Times” and “Hercampus” at VCU. Her article in “The Commonwealth Times” won the Associated College Press (ACP) best of show award. Sarah is a 2018 graduate of John Handley High School. She was a miscellanea editor, yearbook co-editor, and published an article in the Winchester Star about prom fashion in 2018. Sarah’s mother served as a Princess in the Court of Queen Shenandoah LVI, Dana Lee Connors.
Catherine Keim is the daughter of Pamela and Douglas Keim of Winchester. She is the granddaughter Darlene Kauffman of Brogue, PA, Dorothy and Melvin Keim of Harrisonburg, VA, and the late Jason Kauffman. She is a freshman at Princeton University majoring in molecular biology. She is a member of the Princeton University Glee Club, chapel choir, and club swim team. Catherine is a 2019 graduate of John Handley High School where she was the marching band drum major and a captain of the debate team. She received a varsity swim letter and served as president of Key Club. Catherine was a National AP Scholar, danced for Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet for thirteen years and is member of First Presbyterian Church.
Lauren Taylor is the daughter of LaDonna and Lowell Taylor Jr. of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Linda and Stephen Butler of Winchester and Eunice and Lowell Taylor Sr. of Keyser, WV. She is a freshman at West Virginia University majoring in criminology and psychology. Lauren is a 2019 graduate of James Wood High School. She was a four-year varsity cheer letter recipient, two-time all-district, two-time all-region, and 2018 All State Cheerleader. She was a member of the National Honor Society and Serving Learning.
The Princesses will accompany Queen Shenandoah XCIII and her Court to all Festival functions throughout the 93rd Festival scheduled for April 24 to May 3, 2020. They will participate in the Coronation Ceremony to be held on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at John Handley High School. They will ride in the Royal Float in the Grand Feature Parade scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 2, 2020.
by Thomas Shea
What do I say when out of town relatives ask me to name the highlight of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®? That is not an easy answer. So many fun events come to mind like The Midway, the Sports Breakfast and themed luncheons, the Carnival (where I have eaten many snow cones over 20+ years), Wine Fest (I can finally imbibe), and parades that rival the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. But, for me, one of the highlights is definitely the thirty-nine-year-old 10K Race on Saturday morning of the big weekend.
“Forever Apple Blossom” is the theme of this year’s Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. The logo for the 93rd Bloom is a beautiful gold infinity symbol intertwined through pink and green apple blossom flowers. The course for the Apple Blossom 10k mimics this year’s infinity symbol. Analogous with the infinity symbol looping around the apple blossom flowers in the logo, the path of the 10k runners envelops the heart of the festival by circumventing John Handley High School and historic Winchester. The road course provides plenty of eye candy as runners take in the beautiful landmark high school and gorgeous historic homes, each with its own character and charm. Of course, one hopes to be running so fast that these iconic buildings become a blur, which may be a reality for the front runners, but the rest of us enjoy the views.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom 10K is a tradition for runners in and around Winchester. The event consistently draws over a thousand runners each year (1,135 finishers in 2019) and offers over $8,000 in prize award money! While this race is exhilarating for the runners, it is perhaps as exciting for the community that lines the roads to watch. Fans intently search for loved ones, shout out words of encouragement, wave signs, and best of all, the street laden cheering section lauds all participants with arm-raised clapping and cheering.
I first ran the Apple Blossom 10K when I was 15. At the time, I was a high school cross country and track athlete, so the 10K was like a long workout. My favorite part of the race was that I knew so many of the faces, especially the kids in my age group because it was like having a hometown meet. Our coaches ran with us, as well as many teachers and people I knew from the bank and shops in town. Truth be told, it is a challenging course. Some say that since the course is relatively flat, it is easier, but to that, I respond by saying a flat course does not have a downhill recovery time. There are grade changes, albeit slight, that allow for variation and leg muscle reprieve.
The key to a successful race is to prepare. A combination of mid-distance running and sprint work is a great recipe. New runners should begin race preparation months ahead, slowly increasing his/her distance until running a distance beyond 6 miles is quite comfortable. To be able to have that desired final homestretch kick, sprint workouts are essential. Sprint work can be done on a high school track, but one can also use the speed settings on a treadmill, or even sprint the distance between telephone poles along the street. Mental fortitude is also of key importance; the 10k is no distance to laugh at. Having the mental strength to keep going in that last mile or so can make or break your race performance. Runner’s Retreat in Winchester offers an eight-week 10K prep training session leading up to the May race. So, no excuses, runners, get out there and train! Be a part of this enduring race and join in this year’s “Forever Apple Blossom” celebration.
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.