Kara Dixon will be returning to her hometown this spring to be the guest speaker at the Ladies Horticultural Luncheon presented by Spring Arbor Assisted Living.
Kara Dixon is the Deputy Director of Video Production for the Senate Democratic Media Center for the US Senate in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Winchester, Virginia and is a proud graduate of John Handley High School, where she was student government vice president and a member of the state record breaking 4x400 meter track and field relay team.
Kara is also a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. At UMD, she participated in the CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship Program led by UNC and WRAL. During college, Kara was a member of Capital News Service and View Finder presented by the University of Maryland. Both programs won numerous regional and national awards.
After graduating, Kara spent eight years working as a tv news reporter at KFDM/KBTV in Beaumont, Texas and at WAVY-TV in Hampton Roads, Virginia. She covered everything from weather to crime and hosted the political digital series "Candid with Kara..."
Last summer, Kara was awarded a regional Emmy for her work at WAVY. The story, “Road to Reconciliation: Uncovering our Past” highlighted the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is believed to be one of the oldest Black churches in the United States.
Kara is also involved in her community and active with diversity and young adult ministries within the Catholic church. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults.
In 2020, Kara completed the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership’s Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Leadership. She is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she teaches video production.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and singing karaoke.
The Ladies Horticultural Luncheon presented by Spring Arbor Assisted Living will be held on Friday, May 3, 2024, at 10:30 a.m., Millwood Station Banquet Hall, 252 Costello Drive, Winchester, VA. Tickets may be obtained by calling (540) 662-3409.
Stephanie Stuckey to speak at the Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon presented by Top of Virginia Regional Chamber
Stephanie Stuckey has been named the featured speaker of Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Stephanie Stuckey is Chair of Stuckey’s, known as a highway oasis to generations of Americans. Founded in 1937 by her grandfather, W.S. Stuckey, Sr. in Eastman, Georgia, Stuckey’s grew into over 350 stores nationwide. However, the company was sold and sadly declined for decades under outside ownership.
Fortunately, it’s now back in family hands thanks to Stephanie buying Stuckey’s in 2019. She and her partners purchased a candy plant in Wrens, GA in 2021 and are reviving the company as a pecan snack & candy brand.
Stephanie received her BA and JD from the University of Georgia. She’s worked as a trial lawyer, a state representative, Director of Sustainability for Atlanta, and an adjunct professor at UGA’s School of Law. Stephanie’s achievements include being named one of the Most Admired CEOs of 2022 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine, and a graduate of Leadership Atlanta.
Stephanie’s book, “UnStuck” Rebirth of an American Icon,” will be released in April 2024. It is available for pre-sales on Amazon.com.
When she’s not running Stuckey’s, Stephanie enjoys road tripping across America in search of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
Valley Health Business at the Bloom Luncheon, an event for business networking, will be held Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 11 a.m. a Tolley Dental Zone at James R. Wilkins Athletic and Events Center, 1188 Ralph Shockey Drive, Winchester, VA.
Joy Elizabeth Berlanga has been named Queen Shenandoah XCVII, designate. Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® takes great pleasure to make this announcement with the generational significance and this being the 100th anniversary of the Festival’s beginning. Joy is the daughter of Tyne Vance Berlanga, Queen Shenandoah in 2001, and the granddaughter of Susan Ford Bales, Queen Shenandoah 1975.
Joy is excited to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother and eagerly embraces the honor of becoming Queen Shenandoah. She has heard so many fond memories of their time in Winchester. She is thrilled to experience it herself!
Joy lives in Texas with her parents, Tyne and Hector Berlanga and brother, Cruz. She is a senior at Independence High School. Her passions include gardening, an avid love for books, and finding enjoyment in building Legos. Balancing varsity volleyball and floriculture at school fuels her enthusiasm. Joy’s commitment to her academics resulted in being recognized as a National Hispanic Recognition. She is set to attend Colorado State University in the Fall to major in landscape architecture, aspiring to create beautiful and resilient outdoor spaces and gardens for years to come.
The family tradition will continue at Joy’s Coronation on Friday, May 3, at 1:30 p.m. at John Handley High School. She will be crowned by her mother and grandmother. Tyne was crowned by her mother, Susan. Susan was crowned by her father, President Gerald Ford. Queen Shenandoah, designate, and the Royal Family will attend many functions during the Festival and will be riding their “Royal Float and Coaches” during the Firefighters’ and Grand Feature Parade.
The Festival has been honored to have members of a family to reign as Queen Shenandoah. This is the first family to reign the stage of time from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter as Queen.
Tickets for Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com.
Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is honored to announce Ryan Dobson as the motivational speaker of the 25th Annual Prayer Brunch, presented by Knouse Foods / Musselman’s.
Parenting expert Ryan Dobson grew up as the son of another parenting expert, Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson.
Ryan, along with his wife Laura, speaks around the country nearly every weekend in churches, strengthening families and marriages. Dobson is also host of the REBEL Parenting Podcast.
The author of six books—including multiple best-sellers—Dobson is a Radio Host, has a Top 20 iTunes podcast, has spoken before more than one million people around the world, and has appeared in numerous major media outlets including FOX News Huckabee, and The Wall Street Journal print edition.
He and his wife Laura live in Colorado Springs with their two children.
The Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods, an interdenominational event with an inspirational message, will be held Friday, May 3, 2024, at 11 a.m. at the Winchester Church of God, 2080 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA. Tickets are $45.00 and are available online at www.thebloom.com.
Christian Music Artist, TobyMac to Headline 2024 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Contemporary Christian Concert Featuring Mac Powell and Special Guest Terrian
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is excited to announce 7-time GRAMMY award winner, TobyMac will headline its second annual Contemporary Christian Concert, featuring 4-time GRAMMY award winner, Mac Powell and special guest Terrian. The Contemporary Christian Concert, presented by Clean Water of Virginia, will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at the Tolley Dental Zone at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. Doors open at Noon, show starts at 2:00 pm.
With more than 16 million units in career sales and a whopping seven GRAMMY Awards, TobyMac’s career continues on the fast track. His 2015 RIAA Certified Gold studio album, THIS IS NOT A TEST, garnered a GRAMMY Award and Billboard Music Award nomination on top of debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200. Each of his six studio solo projects have achieved Gold certification, a first for any artist in the history of his label, Capitol Christian Music Group. Among those is 2012’s EYE ON IT, which debuted atop the Billboard 200, only the third Christian album ever to do so. THE ELEMENTS, his latest GRAMMY-nominated, full collection of music, boasted “Everything,” “Scars,” “Edge of My Seat,” “See The Light” and more alongside the chart-topper, RIAA Gold Certified “I just need U.” His most recent singles, “21 Years,” “Help Is On the Way (Maybe Midnight),” “Promised Land,” “The Goodness (feat. Blessing Offor),” “Everything About You (feat. Marlee)” and “Show Up Choose Love (feat. Jon Reddick),” are available wherever you stream music, along with his GRAMMY nominated seventh studio project, LIFE AFTER DEATH.
Mac Powell, originally from Alabama, moved to Atlanta, GA as a sophomore in high school where he would soon co-found the Christian rock band Third Day. Throughout their nearly three-decade career, the band sold over 10 million albums, earned four Grammy Awards, one American Music Award, 24 Dove Awards, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall
of Fame. Since Third Day’s farewell tour in 2018 Mac released his debut solo Christian album NEW CREATION on October 15th, 2021 which landed at NO.1 on the Top Christian & Gospel album chart. “River of Life,” the debut single from NEW CREATION became a Top 10 hit at Christian radio followed by the multi-week title track, “New Creation,” which spent 7 weeks at NO. 2 and 19 weeks inside the top 10.
Gotee Records' powerhouse vocalist Terrian recently announced her debut full-length album, GIVE IT TIME.
"Waiting is something we are all familiar with," shares Terrian about her new song and title track. "Waiting brings our lack of trust in God, our insecurities, pride, fears and worries all to the surface. Sometimes, we don't realize all of that is hiding in us. Yet, the Lord uses it to show us that while we're waiting, it's not just the outcome He's concerned with, it's seeing us whole. Seeing us fully surrendered to Him. Seeing us lay down sins we've held on to for too long. Let the Holy Spirit transform you while you wait. Give it time, friends, He sees. He most certainly knows."
The title track of her new album received elite placement on digital playlists release week including Spotify's New Music Friday list along with their New Music Friday Christian and Top Christian & Gospel lists. At Pandora, Terrian graced the cover art of the Coffeehouse Christian list and featured on the New Christian Music Now list. Amazon gave her the No. 1 spot on Amazon Music's Fresh Christian playlist as well as the cover of the Fresh Christian list.
Her new album will also feature Terrian's latest radio single, "Big God," a Top 25 Christian AC single receiving airplay from more than 40 AC stations including the K-LOVE network and SiriusXM's The Message.
Named as Pandora's Artist to Watch in 2021, Terrian has been building to this album debut. Receiving her first No. 1 single for "Light It Up" in 2021 when she released her debut EP, Genesis of Terrian, Terrian has developed her own unique style. She is currently on tour with TobyMac and the Diverse City band this month with MercyMe and Zach Williams. She will also be part of the 2024 "TobyMac Hits Deep Tour" with Cory Asbury, Mac Powell, Tasha Layton, and Gotee Records label-mate Jon Reddick.
Tickets go on sale for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® Contemporary Christian Concert, presented by Clean Water of Virginia at 9:00 AM on Monday, January 29, 2024. Ticket prices range from $25 to $100 and are available for purchase at www.thebloom.com.
Chayce Beckham with special guest Davisson Brothers Band to perform at the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Shenandoah Country Q102
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Sharen Gromling, is pleased to announce that American Idol Season 19 winner, Chayce Beckham will headline the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Shenandoah Country Q102 with special guest Davisson Brothers Band. The Country Music Party will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at the Tolley Dental Zone 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.
President, Sharen Gromling states, “The 2024 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s Country Music Party lineup continues a longstanding tradition of showcasing rising stars in county music.”
Chayce Beckham is one of the most buzzed about newcomers in country music today, having won over millions of hearts while competing on Season 19 of American Idol. From the first audition, superstar Katy Perry highlighted how Chayce's gravely vocals sound like “the heart of America.” Armed with a determination to make something of himself and the unwavering support of his family, Chayce auditioned for the competition show after undergoing a particularly difficult year to ultimately become the first-ever show winner to claim the title with an original song—kickstarting his journey to fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a singer, songwriter and entertainer.
Following his first time onstage after performing in his fifth-grade talent show, the southern Californian began teaching himself guitar—eventually finding his way into a Reggae band (while earning his wages at a construction equipment rental company). Influenced by artists such as Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, and Kolton Moore & The Clever Few, and knowing that country music was where his heart called home, Chayce turned to Instagram as a creative outlet for his more intimate songs, sharing his original material.
With his family, his hometown of Apple Valley and now America behind him, the mellow 24-year-old with the alluring rasp released his debut song, "23." The song is a semi-autobiographical account of his struggles with alcohol and of the lows it can take a person. After its May release, the song quickly earned the top spot on both the iTunes Country and all genre charts. Now signed to 19 Recordings in partnership with BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records and finding his home in Nashville, Chayce is ready to dig into new music and share his signature sound with his legions of fans.
Davisson Brothers Band
The Davisson Brothers Band are a genre-blurring mountain rock band formed in Clarksburg, West Virginia, by Chris and Donnie Davisson. Along with nephew Gerrod Bee and life-long family friend Aaron Regester, the band has created a uniquely authentic Appalachian country sound, which has helped them grow into one of the most successful independent acts in the world.
Since their founding in 2006, the band has recorded three albums, been celebrated as a Highway Find on Sirius XM, charted on country radio with “Foot Stompin’” and scored a hit song in Australia with “Po’ Boyz,” while also earning a dedicated following in the Jam Band/Bluegrass scene and standing shoulder to shoulder with mainstream country stars at festivals like CMC Rocks (Australia) and the Carolina Country Fest.
Their latest album, Home Is Where the Heart Is, was produced by Brent Cobb and David “Ferg” Ferguson, and features Tim O’Brien, Rob McCoury, Stewart Duncan, Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman, Ronnie Bowman, Kyle Tuttle, Lindsay Lou and more.
Tickets go on sale for the Malloy Toyota Country Music Party, presented by Shenandoah Country Q102 at 9:00 AM on Monday, January 29, 2024. VIP tickets are $55.00 and general admission tickets are $40.00. VIP tickets include premium reserved seats and special entrance to avoid the long lines. General admission is also reserved seating. Tickets will be available at www.thebloom.com. Be sure to listen to Shenandoah Country Q102 daily for concert updates and special ticket giveaways!
The Miss Apple Blossom and Miss Apple Blossom Teen Competition, presented by FNB Bank will be held at 7:00 pm on January 27, 2024, at Daniel Morgan Middle School, 48 S Purcell Ave, Winchester, VA. The winners will serve as hostesses for the 97th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® from April 26-May 5, 2024. They will visit numerous events and ride in the Firefighters’ Parade Friday, May 3rd and Grand feature Parade Saturday, May 4th.
The winner of the Miss Apple Blossom Festival and Miss Apple Blossom Teen will go on to compete at the 2024 Miss Virginia Competition.
2024 Miss Apple Blossom delegate
2024 Miss Apple Blossom Teen delegate
Six girls have been selected to serve as Little Maids in the Court of Queen Shenandoah XCVII during the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, April 26th through May 5th, 2024. They are Kiah Nicole Anderson, Audriana Michelle Cartright, Kinsey Virginia Feltner, Presley Jean Luebcke, Magnolia Elizabeth Murphy and Henlee Rebecca Pifer.
Kiah Nicole Anderson is the daughter of Cassie Marcoux and Gerald Anderson, both of Winchester, VA. She is the granddaughter of Shelly Cole of Winchester, Roger Marcoux of Okeechobee, FL and Zelda Anderson of Winchester. She is a fourth-grade student at Garland Quarles Elementary School. Kiah plays short stop and catcher with the Swarm Softball Organization and basketball with Winc City Assault.
Audriana “Audri” Michelle Cartright is the daughter of Alexis LaPorte and Rylan Banks of Stephenson, VA and Margo and Danziel Cartwright of Portsmouth, VA. She is the granddaughter of Michelle LaPorte and Steven Sabol of Winchester and Nikki and Richard Greaux of Leesburg, VA and the great-granddaughter of Willa Banks of Winchester. She is a fourth-grade student at Jordan Springs Elementary School where she is on the All-A honor roll. She is a member of her elementary school choir and received a good citizenship award last year. She plays basketball with Frederick County Parks and Recreation. Audriana is a member of Abundant Life Church.
Kinsey Virginia Feltner is the daughter of Stephanie and Joshua Feltner of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Deborah and Barry Carper and Melanie and Jeff Feltner, all of Winchester. She is a third-grade student at Evendale Elementary School where she is on the All-A honor roll. Kinsey participates in Girls on the Run and plays volleyball with Frederick County Parks and Recreation. Her mother was a Maid of Honor in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXXVII, Cydney Cathalene Chase. Her maternal grandfather is a past president of the festival, serving in 2019 and 2020.
Presley Jean Luebcke is the daughter of Carrie and Christopher Luebcke of Stephenson. She is the granddaughter of Jean and Ben Hallam of Stephenson, Henry “Took” Kern of Winchester, Lois Mitchell of St. Augustine, FL and Nick Luebcke of New Windsor, NY. She is a fourth-grade student at Jordan Springs Elementary School where she sings in the choir. Presley is a member of the Shenandoah Tumblers Xcel Silver gymnastics team and a Ballet and Musical Theatre student at Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy. Her maternal grandmother was a Maid of Honor in the court of Queen Shenandoah XLI, Barbara Anne Eisenhower. Her mother was a Princess in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXVI, Elizabeth Noelle Dienert.
Magnolia “Maggie” Elizabeth Murphy is the daughter of Amye and Daniel Murphy of Stephenson. She is the granddaughter of Mary Beth Harrison of Man, WV, Richard Ours of Stephens City, VA, and Karen and David Murphy of Titusville, PA. Maggie is a fourth-grade student at Red Bud Run Elementary School. She plays Hockey with TOP of Virginia Hockey Alliance and enjoys LOGO’s at Opequon Presbyterian Church. Her mother was a Princess in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXXVII, Cydney Cathalene Chase.
Henlee Rebecca Pifer is the daughter of Katie and Brandon Pifer of Winchester. She is the granddaughter of Kim Keyser of Middletown, VA, Danny Keyser and Diane and Richard Pifer, all of Winchester. She is a fourth-grade student at Frederick Douglass Elementary School. Henlee plays soccer with Blue Ridge United and is a member of Girl Scouts. Her father was a page in the court of Queen Shenandoah LXVI, Elizabeth Noelle Dienert, and an escort for Queen Shenandoah LXXVI, Katherine Elizabeth Short.
Glow Party, Laser Light Shows, Street Performers, Apple Drop, Family Fun Run and Lots More Planned for 2024 New Year’s Celebration in Old Town Winchester
Winchester, VA – The City of Winchester, VA, Old Town Winchester, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester Economic Development Authority, and Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® have partnered to organize a New Year’s Celebration event throughout the day and evening on Sunday, December 31, 2023 and the morning of Monday, January 1, 2024 at various locations in Winchester, VA.
First Night Winchester at the MSV
Celebrate First Night at the MSV! Enjoy FREE family-oriented entertainment and admission by donation to the MSV galleries, Glen Burnie House, and gardens.
In the galleries building, Magic Shows will take place at 10 a.m. & noon (ticket required), the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center will present programs at 2 & 4 p.m. (ticket required), and balloon animal making & face painting will take place from noon to 3 p.m. (no ticket required).
Light snacks and drinks will be available for purchase in the Museum Store from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Artists of all ages are also invited to participate in the First Night Winchester Coloring Contest! This annual MSV tradition includes prizes for the winners from each age group, and the winning coloring sheets will be on display on December 31.
On New Year’s Eve, the galleries building will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and The Trails at the MSV will be open from 7 a.m. to dusk.
Get tickets for the shows at www.themsv.org/fnw24 or by calling 540-662-1473, ext. 240; early registration encouraged as space is limited.
Ring in the New Year in Old Town Winchester
Make dinner reservations or enjoy live entertainment at one of Old Town Winchester’s many fine dining establishments and entertainment venues. FREE family-friendly entertainment will take place on the walking mall and at several venues from 5 p.m. until midnight including:
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. James Wood High School Jazz Band performance in the Grand Ball Room at The George Washington Hotel, A Wyndham Grand Hotel.
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Street performers along walking mall including fire jugglers, magicians, and more.
5 p.m. to Midnight Grab a selfie with friends! New Year’s Eve themed backdrops will be located at Bright Box Theater, The George Washington Hotel, Winchester Brew Works and Vibrissa Restaurant and Brewery. Stop by all four locations to snap and share photos!
6 p.m. to Midnight Glow Party (with DJ) and Laser Light Shows at the Old Court house Civil War Museum
6 p.m. Glow Party with DJ
7 p.m. Laser Light Show (‘60s and ‘70s music)
7:30 p.m. Glow Party with DJ
8:30 p.m. Laser Light Show (‘80s music)
10 p.m. Laser Light Show (‘90s music)
10:30 p.m. Glow Party with DJ
11:40 p.m. Laser Light Show
Midnight Apple Drop
Visit www.thebloom.com for a full listing of activities and events on New Year’s Eve in Old Town Winchester. Local non-profits will be in Old Town selling glow bracelets as a fundraiser for their organizations.
FREE parking is available in the four downtown Autoparks from 12:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 12:00 p.m. New Year’s Day!
Race into the New Year at the New Year’s Day Fun Run
Kickoff 2024 with family wellness by participating in the New Year’s Day Fun Run on the trails at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Runners should plan to arrive at 8 a.m., and the Fun Run begins promptly at 9 a.m. The 2.4-mile course will weave runners through the beautiful and historic MSV campus. Post race, enjoy music by Summit Events and great food from Donut Dive and Billy Sous.
Adults - $35
12 and Under - $25
Sign up online at www.thebloom.com
The Fun Run is limited to 250 participants.
Special thanks to our generous partners: Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Monoflo International, Procter & Gamble, CNB Bank, Partlow Insurance, Valley Health Wellness & Fitness, Top of Virginia Regional Chamber – Young Professionals Group, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Johnny Blue, Summit Events, Mosaic Church, and Emerald Owl Productions.
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.