Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and local businesses partner with Sherando High School Art Department students on Festival-inspired coloring book
Winchester, VA – Coloring book enthusiasts are in for a special treat this spring thanks to a partnership between the Sherando High School art department and Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. Last year SHS art teacher, Jillian Legge, approached the Festival with the idea of a community project and fundraiser for her students to design a Festival-inspired coloring book highlighting popular Apple Blossom events. “This project is so much more than just learning in the classroom. It showcases the artistic talent of the students in our schools and helps raise funds for our program. Most importantly, it has been an incredible self-esteem booster for the students and provides an opportunity to bring joy to the community,” Legge stated. The high school art department has a strong need to raise funds for upgrades like new pottery wheels, light tables for image transfers, art supplies, educational experiences, and trips for the students. Engaging the next generation of festivalgoers continues to be a priority for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and this partnership has opened another door to working with and supporting local students. This project has proven to be a perfect fit for both organizations.
High school participation has been an integral part of the Festival since its inception. High school bands march in our parades, showcasing their musical talents. Elementary students sing and perform on stage during the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah. The coloring book project reveals the incredible artistic talents and shares a glimpse of their personal interests. SHS student, Connor Sanders shared, “In creating the 10K race page, I saw this as an opportunity to combine my love of art with my love for sports. I wanted it to be more than a coloring page, allowing for creative expression where each person can incorporate their own drawings by adding faces to the runners, as well as bib numbers."
Students used a variety of techniques and drawing styles including hand and digitally drawn. Hand drawn art was created on paper and then digitally uploaded while the digitally drawn art was captured on tablets and computers using a stylus. Some student design inspiration came through shared event and venue photos, while others ventured out to capture photos of the landscape to incorporate into their art. SHS art student Annalise Sison described her inspiration as, “For my piece in the coloring book, I started by looking up different Apple Blossom parade floats. Once I picked one, I went to downtown Winchester and took pictures of the Handley Library. Using older images of the parade float I chose and my photos of the library as references, I drew out a rough idea of the coloring book page. After that, I uploaded the sketch onto my computer and used it as an outline to draw my final piece digitally on my art tablet through Medibang Paint. I don't have much experience with drawing architecture, so this was a good experience for me, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity!”
Twenty-seven Sherando High School artists ranging from freshmen to seniors shared their talents in the production of the Festival coloring book and students approached local businesses requesting their financial support and being distribution outlets for the project. Four seniors in the art department recognize that they are paving the way for the next generation of art students and helping to enhance the classroom experience. These seniors understand that this project will support new resources for the classroom for years to come. SHS Senior Alleigh Nowell stated, "As a senior, I was excited for the opportunity to help contribute to a better art program for my younger brother who will be taking art as a freshman next year."
Art students who participated in the coloring book project had such a great experience that many are volunteering at the Festival’s Souvenir Store and helping spruce up the floats for the Grand Feature Parade.
Coloring books will be sold for $10/each. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the coloring books will support the Sherando High School art department. Books are on sale at the following locations beginning on Monday, March 20, 2023: Sherando High School, West Oaks Farm Market, Richards Fruit Market, Winchester Book Gallery, Lantz’s Pharmacy and Spring Valley Farmers Market. Books will be on sale at the Apple Blossom Souvenir Store in the Apple Blossom Mall in early April.
Special thanks to the generous financial support provided by Lantz’s Pharmacy, Kingspan, Commercial Press, United Bank, Stephens City Family Dentistry, Gore’s Meats, West Oaks Farm Market, Marker Miller Orchards, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®.
For more information, visit www.thebloom.com.
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.
Kellye Cash named as inspirational speaker for Festival’s Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods
Sharen Gromling, President of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is pleased to announce Kellye Cash as the keynote speaker for the Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods.
As the first child of retired Navy Captain and Mrs. Roy Cash, Jr., Kellye learned at an early age of her need for Christ. Her father's career as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot took them all over the country and even overseas. It was during the Vietnam Conflict that Kellye realized that even when Dad came home, there would still be an emptiness in her life and that emptiness could only be filled with Jesus Christ. At a small revival in Escondido, CA, Kellye asked Christ to come into her life, and often says this: She found a Father who never went to sea, a Friend who loved her just the way that she was with all her the quirkiness that comes from being a musician, and she found Forgiveness no matter what she did or was going to do.
Following her year as Miss America 1987 which included performances with her great-uncle Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, and Lee Greenwood, Kellye returned to the University of Memphis to continue her studies and launch her career as a performer and speaker. Kellye continued her community service platform and substance-abuse awareness by becoming the first spokesperson for the Governor’s Alliance for a Drug-free Tennessee, which became the official Miss Tennessee platform.
She works in the Bethel University Music Department as music director, a piano/voice teacher, a concert artist, and as a musical director for community theatre productions.
Recently Kellye played Patsy Cline, a role she’s become known for, in her 13th production and/or tour of ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE.
The Festival Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods will be held at Fellowship Bible Church, 3217 Middle Road, Friday, May 5, 2023, from 11 am to 1 pm. Tickets at $40 are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Michael W. Smith with special guest, Cochren & Co. to perform live at the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Winchester, VA – The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is excited to announce that Grammy, Dove, and America Music Award winner Michael W. Smith will perform live on Sunday afternoon, May 7, 2023 with special guest Cochren & Co. The concert is proudly presented by Clean Water of Virginia and will take place on the Tolley Dental Zone stage at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. Enjoy an afternoon of uplifting music by one of the most decorated Contemporary Christian artists of all time!
Michael W. Smith has been releasing new music regularly and performing around the world to sold-out crowds for the last 35+ years. During his storied career, he's written and recorded over 36 No. 1 songs, been bestowed with three GRAMMY® Awards and 45 Dove Awards, one American Music Award, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has sold more than 15 million albums. Amassing an in-depth catalog of achievements, Smith was also honored with a star-studded tribute concert in Nashville, TN to celebrate his 35 No. 1s, by a myriad of legendary performers. In 2021, he released a re-envisioned live version of his #1 highest-selling album of all time, Worship, in honor of its 20th anniversary. His critically acclaimed studio album A Million Lights and live worship album Surrounded have together become his 30th and 31st Top 10 hits on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart, more than any other solo artist in history. More than just an outstanding songwriter and performer, Smith has given back to the global community throughout his career. Smith has raised funds to battle AIDS in Africa, started Rocketown, a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope; and has helped more than 70,000 children through Compassion International. He has also written several bestselling books, including Old Enough To Know and Friends Are Friends Forever.
The Festival also welcomes, special guest, Cochren & Co. to the Tolley Dental Zone stage on Sunday afternoon, May 7. Michael Cochren is a singer/songwriter and worship leader born and raised in a small Indiana town. After graduating school, Cochren began playing music across the country with a band of friends under the name Cochren & Co. With hope filled lyrics and timeless melodies, Cochren & Co. blur the lines between American pop, soft rock, and soul/blues to create a sound all their own.
Dove Award Nominated Cochren & Co. have toured coast to coast accumulating a loyal following of new listeners wherever they go. Their debut full-length album Don’t Lose Hope was released on Gotee Records in 2021 and includes Billboard Top 10 Radio Hits Church (Take Me Back), One Day, and Who Can. The title-track Don’t Lose Hope was featured in a new episode of CBS’s MacGyver. On February 3, 2023 Cochren & Co. released their sophomore album Running Home. Michael Cochren recently
shared with fans, “I started the process for this album with the desire to expand our borders sonically and deepen the honesty of our lyrics. It was a true joy to create, and I pray it brings you joy, hope, and some windows down cranked up stereo FUN as you listen.” With a full touring schedule, including the TobyMac “Hits Deep Tour” and the release of their new album, Cochren & Co. is only getting started.
Tickets to Michael W. Smith with special guest, Cochren & Co., presented by Clean Water of Virginia, are available online at www.thebloom.com. Tickets range from $15.00 to $70.00. Doors to the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center open at Noon with Cochren & Co. taking the stage at 2:00 pm. Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive early to grab lunch from a broad selection of food vendors.
Winchester, VA – Recognizing an individual(s) as a Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Honorary Grand Marshal is an infrequent part of our annual springtime ritual. Every so often though, members of our community are crowned as Festival royalty and honored for their extraordinary achievements, selfless acts, and good deeds. Such individuals help shape our community by sharing their time, talents and gifts every day – helping to make the place we call home very special.
On Valentine’s Day, it is only fitting that we honor and celebrate two individuals who came to our community in 1978 and chose Winchester to raise their family. Their love for each other, their family, friends, and this community is unwavering.
With more than 50 years of business experience as owners of three local corporations, this dynamic couple has built a legacy that will continue to positively impact our community for generations to come.
One member of this dynamic team is the Founder of First Night Winchester and a former member of the Winchester Medical Center Board. She served as President of the LFCC Board and as a member of their Foundation. Her passion and love for our youth is demonstrated by her service to countless youth organizations where she served as a board member, volunteer, fundraiser, and promoter. She has been recognized by the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, named Businesswoman of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year, and received the Shenandoah University President’s Award for Community Service.
The other dynamic member of the team has been the voice of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Grand Feature Parade for nearly 30 years. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and an active member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. He is also a long-time member and Past President of the Winchester Rotary Club, Past President of the Wayside Theater, Member of both the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild where he has worked on and appeared in over 30 films. He is a member of the Actors Equity appearing in over 50 professional stage presentations, Director of three Winchester Little Theater productions, and past board member of the Chamber of Commerce. His awards are just as numerous as his partner including a two-time recipient of the Outstanding Business Award from the Chamber, Outstanding Citizen, Best Actor Award for World Music and Independent Film Festival, the Wayside Theater’s Leo Bernstein Award, and a four-time winner of the Ronald McDonald Community Service Award.
Our Honorary Grand Marshals have spent countless hours volunteering and supporting the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. From sponsoring and hosting Olympians including Rowdy Gaines, Greg Louganis, Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen and Buzz Schneider to supporting many events including Pages and Maids activities and meals, this couple has a sustained love for our Festival.
It is a pleasure to announce our 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Honorary Grand Marshals - Kathy and Nick Nerangis. They truly have demonstrated our theme of Live fully, Love deeply, and Bloom forever.
When informed of Kathy and Nick’s selection as Honorary Grand Marshals, Craig B. Welburn, President of McDonald’s Capital Business Unit and local McDonald’s Owner Operator commented “On behalf of the McDonald’s Owner Operators in the Washington, D.C., Greater Baltimore and the Eastern Shore area, we want to congratulate Kathy and Nick Nerangis on the honor of becoming the Honorary Grand Marshals for the 2023 Apple Blossom Festival. We are all beyond proud of you both for the philanthropic endeavors you’ve led in the community. You have earned this noble position and we are grateful to call you part of our McDonald’s Family.”
Kathy and Nick will make appearances at numerous Festival events and ride through the GloFiber Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 1:30 pm.
For more information, visit www.thebloom.com.
Noah Thompson & HunterGirl to co-headline the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Q102 and participate in the GloFiber Grand Feature Parade
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is excited to announce that 2022 American Idol winner, Noah Thompson, and 2022 American Idol runner-up, HunterGirl, will co-headline the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Q102 with Special Guest Ronne Wolford & 50 West on Saturday evening, May 6, 2023 at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. Doors open at 7:00 pm, show starts at 8:00 pm. Artists will ride through the GloFiber Grand Feature Parade on Saturday afternoon, May 6, starting at 1:30 pm.
Over the years, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s Country Music Party has welcomed many notable artists as they launched their careers in the country music industry. 2023 is no different. Noah Thompson and HunterGirl won over hearts and wowed viewers in 2022 as they competed on Season 20 of American Idol, and we look forward to both bringing their high-energy to the Country Music Party stage!
Tickets go on sale for the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Q102 at 12:00 Noon today. General admission tickets are $35.00. VIP tickets are $50.00 and include premium parking, special VIP entrance, exclusive VIP bar and Apple Blossom swag. Tickets are available at www.thebloom.com.
Noah Thompson Bio
People pulled for Noah Thompson when the Kentucky-born construction worker couldn’t pull for himself.
Some dreams simply seem out of reach when the limitations of growing up in a small town and the responsibilities of a one-year-old named Walker, make superstardom seem distant and meant for someone else. But America believed wholeheartedly in what Thompson couldn’t imagine for himself.
2022 American Idol Season 20 winner embodies the spirit of Country music: overcoming adversity and the odds to achieve widespread acclaim and the hearts of millions. This is more than a CinderNoah story; this is the culmination of an “American (Idol) Dream.”
Before he was performing for 2.5 million television viewers, Thompson was singing for a ragtag crew of a half dozen construction workers framing houses near his hometown of Louisa, KY (population 2,852). They were laborers with checkered pasts and/or limited options, and Thompson was a daily distraction.
“Those boys would have me singing any song they could find on their phones,” said Thompson. “They would push me and push me all the time. It would drive me nuts, but it obviously led to a good outcome.”
Likeable, humble, funny and clearly talented, Thompson was one of their own. One of the guys on the crew, whom Thompson had only known a couple months, decided to do something about it and submitted him for the American Idol auditions in Austin, Texas.
“When he signed me up, it was a big ‘No,’ recalled Thompson, who had never been on a plane prior to the auditions. “I really didn’t want him to do it. I could never really picture myself doing something like that. Being in that environment, surrounded by famous people like Luke Bryan and all them, it didn’t seem realistic to me.
“Where we come from, it’s just such a small town, man. When you see someone make it out of here, it’s kind of like magic made that happened. It’s unrealistic in a way. It doesn’t seem like that can happen for you.”
During his winning season on American Idol judge Luke Bryan summed it up: “You are going to ‘Aw, shucks’ your way to the top.”
And then he did.
Releasing his debut song “One Day Tonight” during the show, the catchy, romantic track immediately shot to No. 1 on iTunes All Genres and Country charts and is still racking up an incredible number of on-demand streams, averaging nearly 1 million per week.
Now, Thompson is taking it all in and finding his footing as he prepares to release new music with 19 Recordings under an exclusive license to BBR Music Group. He’s writing songs and working with some of the most sought-after tunesmiths in Nashville, and he is working with notable producer Jimmy Robbins (Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton).
“From the second you meet Noah, you’re rooting for him,” said Robbins, who has penned 10 No. 1 singles. “Not only is he incredibly talented, but he’s one of the most genuine people I’ve worked with. When he steps up to the mic in the studio, it feels like he’s been doing this for years. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.”
Bolstered by the American Idol judges’ confidence in his talent and the nation’s overwhelming support, the early fan-favorite’s humble and kind demeanor instantly connected with fans, and when he put his rough-hewn Country vocals on Rihanna’s R&B smash hit “Stay” during the “showstopper round,” the rising star had his ultimate breakout moment.
The natural break in his vocals added a depth of emotion and an authentic ache to the song. “People love that song, and I’m happy people are still loving it,” Thompson said.
And they’re loving it so much so, he released his rendition of “Stay” on July 29, 2022 – the song that changed his trajectory on the show and proved why he deserved to be named the winner of this year’s American Idol.
A Tennessee native, singer/songwriter HunterGirl has been performing since she was three years old and writing songs since she was nine. In her early teens, she performed at venues across the United States, competed in singing competitions and won the 2014 Texaco Country Showdown. After graduating high school, she moved to Nashville and immediately started playing gigs at Nashville’s most famous venues including Tootsie’s, Rippy’s, Jason Aldean’s Bar, The Listening Room, and HonkyTonk Central, winning songwriting contests such as “Nash Next” and the prestigious “Nashville Songwriter Association International” in her spare time.
Due to having family members who served in the military, HunterGirl holds a deep admiration for our Country’s armed forces and tenaciously works with many veteran organizations, where she uses music therapy to transform veterans’ stories into songs. She’s shared the stage with Country superstars Old Dominion, Florida Georgia Line, Kane Brown, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Sara Evans and more.
Most recently, she competed on this year’s American Idol, where the “country singer with a bright future” (Hollywood Life) delivered standout performances that Taste of Country called “impressive,” “shining,” “chill-worthy,” and “glowing,” winning the hearts of millions across the country. Praised by Idol judge and Country superstar Luke Bryan as the “new age Miranda Lambert” and his “favorite female Country voice,” “HunterGirl has wowed the Country music community since she stepped foot onto the American Idol stage” (Billboard). “Despite missing out on the win, her crooning vocals and intimate original song, ‘Red Bird,’ has made her one to watch in the Country scene (American Songwriter). Skyrocketing to No. 1 on iTunes All-Genre and Country charts, “the budding Country star” (Taste of Country) performed her heartfelt and deeply personal original track “Red Bird” on Live with Kelly & Ryan and has appeared on Good Morning America. With distinctively and incomparably genuine vocals, unwavering drive, and a heart of gold, HunterGirl is on the fast track to be Country’s next big female artist.
Special Guest, Ronnie Wolford & 50 West Bio
Ronnie Wolford and 50 West have made a name for themselves throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley region since forming in early 2022. With over 100 years of combined musical experience, Ronnie Wolford & 50 West’s collective talent is on full display every time the band takes the stage. The band’s diverse set list ranges from Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Johnny Cash, to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and more.
Members of the band have opened for Country Music legends including Craig Morgan, Ronnie Milsap, John Anderson, Charlie Daniels, and Confederate Railroad.
Ronnie Wolford- Front Man & Founding Member, Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Brent Wolford- Lead Guitar, Vocals & Second Generation of Wolford Music
Logan Garrett- Lead Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Curt Creswell- Drums, Vocals
Rob (Robo) Wolf, Bass, Vocals
Casino & Cash Party Results
On Saturday, January 21st the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® held its first annual Casino and Cash Party at the Elks Lodge in Winchester. The purpose of this event was to raise money to recruit bands for our two parades and to also set funds aside as we plan for the 100th Festival in 2027. Brad Veach, Executive Director stated, “The evening was a sold-out success netting the festival nearly $25,000. This will be a huge boost to our parades and a great start to planning a blockbuster event for our 100th festival.” The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival continues to be so grateful to this community for its years of support in sponsorships and attendance at our events. In an effort to give back to the community, Festival President Sharen Gromling and Veach took advantage of the evening to present a check to the emcee, Charles Harbaugh, Executive Director of Access Independence and Mayor of Middletown, Virginia. This $1,000 check was given as a thank you for his long-time support of the Festival, Access Independence’s assistance in making all our events more accessible, and to purchase accessible ramps to help community members who are mobility-impaired. Gromling stated, “Apple Blossom is trying to be more visible throughout the year and to support the efforts of the local nonprofits serving those most in need in our community.”
Make plans now to join us for the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® on April 28 through May 7, 2023. For more information about the Festival, visit us online at www.thebloom.com.
Festival Announces Selection of Maids
Four young women from the Winchester area have been selected to serve as Maids in the Court of Queen Shenandoah XCVI during the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, April 28th through May 7th, 2023. The Maids are Mattie Gray Davis, Katherine Ann Martin, Emilie Elizabeth Pifer, and Margaret Anne Utz.
Mattie Davis is the daughter Mitzie and Bryce Davis of Winchester, VA. She is the granddaughter of Ellen and Rodney Cowley of Winchester, and the late Lela Davis and Boyd Davis. Mattie is a sophomore at The University of Georgia majoring in finance. She is a Presidential Scholar as well as an intern at Brown & McCook, a tax, accounting, and consulting firm. Mattie is a member of the Atlas Business Society, the Women in Finance organization, and the Delta Zeta sorority. She holds an executive board position as Recruitment Chair on the UGA Powerlifting club team. Mattie is a 2021 graduate of John Handley High School.
Katherine Martin is the daughter of Kimberly and Christopher Martin of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Douglas Pollock of Gig Harbor, WA, Linda and William Martin of Winchester, and the late Carol Pollock. Katherine is a junior at Christopher Newport University majoring in political science. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta where she serves as the administrative Vice President. Katherine is a 2020 graduate of John Handley High School. While in high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and an intern for Delegate Christopher Collins.
Emilie Pifer is the daughter of Kim and William Pifer of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Toni Sloan, Alexandra and William Armstrong, and Dorothy Pifer, all of Winchester, and the late Lamar Sloan and William Pifer. Emilie attends James Madison University majoring in health sciences, with a focus on pharmacy. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity and on the Dean’s List. Emilie is a 2021 graduate of John Handley High School. She was a three-year varsity Volleyball letter recipient serving as captain her junior and senior years, a member of the National Honor Society, and a Handley Scholar. Emilie’s mother, Kim Pifer, was a Maid of Honor in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXII, Emily Sikking. Her maternal grandfather, William Armstrong, was a Festival President from 2007 and 2008.
Margaret Utz is the daughter of Anne Marie and Christopher Utz of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Frances and James Lowe and Barbara Utz, all of Winchester, and the late Donald Utz. Margaret is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in business with a concentration in marketing. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. Margaret graduated from James Wood High School in 2021. She was a member of DECA, the Volleyball team and the Tennis team. Additionally, she is a volunteer with the SPCA and Froggy’s Closet.
96th Festival Theme Announcement
Live. Love. Bloom.
Winchester, VA – The unveiling of the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® annual theme and its unique artwork represents the official kickoff of the Festival every November. The theme announcement is the foundation for building momentum through the unveiling of newsworthy events and special guest announcements throughout the winter and early-spring months that lead up to the Festival which takes place next year on April 28 to May 7, 2023.
Sharen Gromling, Festival President states, “The theme’s inspirational message consists of three simple, short verbs that reflects the love our community has for this nearly 100-year tradition of celebrating the Bloom. It is an easy to remember, simplistic theme that is filled with energy and action - Live. Love. Bloom. In short, the theme inspires us to Live Fully, Love Deeply, and Bloom Forever.”
The 96th theme is once again designed by the Festival’s talented graphic designer, Erik Zimmerman, of White Spider, Inc. In describing the theme design and inspiration, Zimmerman states, “I wanted the artwork for the 96th theme to be as simple and as powerful as the title "Live. Love. Bloom". A clean and bold design, incorporating traditional colors along with a splash of something different to provide complimentary impact and Festival energy. Typically, the logo is a simpler version of the program cover, however this year the logo came first, and they mimic each other almost identically with a strong design. The program cover only shows a slight modification to the logo art, along with a halftone blossoms background for a little depth and flare.”
Event ticket sales will be announced at a later date. Tickets can be purchased in person at Festival Headquarters located at 135 North Cameron Street, by phone at (540) 662-3863 or through our online ticketing system. Make plans now to join us for the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® on April 28 through May 7, 2023.
Kickoff Labor Day Weekend at the 2nd Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® HoneyCar BBQ & Brews event at Frederick County Fairgrounds
Winchester, VA – Avoid the high gas prices and plan a staycation on Labor Day weekend. The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and Concern Hotline are partnering once again for a fun-filled community celebration on Labor Day weekend.
Kickoff your three-day weekend at the 23rd Annual Concern Hotline Fish Fry on Friday evening, September 2, 2022 from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Frederick County Fairgrounds. Concern Hotline will be serving fried fish with sides. Junkfood and DJ Skyhigh will play live on stage. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/concern-hotlines-23rd-annual-friday-fish-fry-celebration-tickets-372272014617 to purchase tickets.
On Saturday and Sunday, enjoy local BBQ, craft beer, hard cider, live music, bourbon tasting, a Cornhole Tournament and other fun tailgate games at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® HoneyCar BBQ & Brews. The event takes place from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturday, September 3, 2022 and Noon to 6:00 pm on Sunday, September 4, 2022 at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
Enjoy a wide selection of BBQ from on-site vendors who will be serving up pulled pork, ribs, brisket, chicken and lots more with all the fixins'. Other food options will be available on-site. Stop by the local artisan and crafter booths to check out their selection of unique, custom and handmade goods.
Several local craft beer breweries, hard cider and bourbon distilleries will be on hand including:
Craft Beer Hard Cider Bourbon & Whiskey
Alesatian Brewing Co. Old Town Cidery Catoctin Creek Distilling
Escutcheon Brewing Co. Winchester Cider Works Evan Williams Bourbon
Devils Backbone Filibuster Distillery
Winchester Brew Works KO Distilling
Dividing Creek Beer Company
Broken Window Brewing Co.
Enjoy live local and regional entertainment both days on the MC Fence of Winchester Stage.
Saturday, September 3 Lineup Sunday, September 4 Lineup
11:00 am Downtown Garage 12:00 pm Shotgun Shiver
2:00 pm Rock Bottom Band 3:00 pm Brickyard Road - Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band
5:00 pm Raised on Analog
Pick a partner and compete in the Valley Cycle Center Cornhole Tournament for a chance to win great prizes! Three tournaments are scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday and 2:00 pm on Sunday. The fee to compete in the tournaments are included in the BBQ & Brews ticket price. Register for the tournament when you order your event tickets at https://www.thebloom.com/2022-bbq--brews.html.
Labor Day weekend means the start of the college football season. Sit back and enjoy live games and cheer on your favorite team on several monitors throughout the venue. The Carmeuse Tailgate Area is a great spot to enjoy nostalgic and traditional tailgate games with your friends. Giant Jenga, Spike Ball, axe throwing, Kan Jam, giant Connect 4, basketball pop-a-shot, and oversized chess & checkers are just a few of the fun games in tailgating area.
Tickets are on sale at https://www.thebloom.com/2022-bbq--brews.html.
Single day ADVANCE VIP Tickets ($45.00) include:
9 sampling tickets for your choice of craft beer, hard cider or bourbon
Souvenir tasting glass
BBQ dinner plate
Entry into the Cornhole Tournament, tailgating games and live college football games
VIP Tickets will only be sold in advance and are not available at the gate.
Single Day General Admission Tickets ($25.00 in Advance/$30.00 at the Gate) include:
6 sampling tickets for your choice of craft beer, hard cider or bourbon
Souvenir tasting glass
Entry into the Cornhole Tournament, tailgating games and live college football games
Non-Drinking Tickets are $10. Children 12 and under are FREE.
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.