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.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Barry Carper, is pleased to announce that former Washington Redskin-great, entrepreneur, and ESPN and the NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann will serve as Sports Marshal for the 2020 Festival and sponsored by Omps Funeral Home.
Joe graduated in 1971 from the University of Notre Dame, where he received All-American honors in both Football and Academics. That same year, he was runner up to Jim Plunket for the Heisman Trophy balloting. Joe chose to begin his career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.
A 12-year NFL veteran, Joe played in 163 consecutive games from 1974-1985 for the Washington Redskins and holds Redskin records for passing yardage (25,206), completions (2,044) and attempts (3,602). He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and Pro Bowl MVP leading the Washington Redskins to a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII.
Joe was selected as the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1982 for his community service and dedication to the health and welfare of children. In 1983, he won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award, leading the Redskins to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Joe Theismann’s career ended abruptly in 1985 after sustaining a badly broken leg during a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants on national television. In 2003, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 2013 received the Walter Camp Football Foundation “Distinguished American” Award.
With every chapter of his life, Mr. Theismann evolved from athlete to the ultimate businessman. An Emmy award winning analyst, businessman and athlete, Joe utilizes his gifts, talent and high energy to share his strategies for handling unforeseen change.
Joe will release his book “How to Be A Champion Everyday” in July of 2020. In his new book, Joe shares his timeless wisdom with everyone, wisdom about how to succeed in life. Sprinkled with personal anecdotes, insightful observations about the world around us, and drawing on the examples of successful personalities throughout history, this book provides the guidance and spark for each one of us to improve our lives and achieve our dreams.
Insider’s Note: Best chances for the public to see Joe Theismann: Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 am and during the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade at 1 :30 pm on Saturday, May 2nd. A limited supply of Sports Breakfast tickets will be available at the Official Festival Store at 10:00 am on April 3rd.
It was an exciting evening of performances on Wednesday, Feb. 12, for the first round of auditions of the annual 2020 Anthony’s Pizza “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” contest.
The Bright Box Theater hosted 24 acts, and 12 semi-finalists were chosen including Spontanea Band, Azure Wolf Band, Trinity Jenkins, Isabella McDevitt, Randy Martono-Chai, Ani Dyles, Raen Band, Mayley White, Jack Butler, Madison Starke, Taylah Bailey, and Paige Stickley.
Theresa Gaines, chair of the event which is part of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® to be held April 24 to May 3, reminds the public that there is just one more evening of auditions, which is slated for Wednesday, March 11 – register online, the deadline is March 7th.
Contestants who win at the two first-round auditions will compete in the semi-finals on Wednesday, April 8, and winners from that event will compete in the finals on Wednesday, April 29. The finals will be held during the 93rd festival whose theme is “Forever Apple Blossom.” All contests will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bright Box in downtown Winchester. Prizes awarded at the final event include first place, $2,000; second place, $1,000; and third place, $500.
Rules and guidelines are posted on our website. A sample of talent and background music (if needed) for audition must be included with the application. A URL or MP3 is needed for the application process.
Audience tickets for the March 13 auditions are $10 in the downstairs theater and $5 for the upstairs location.
Click here for registration and ticket information, or go to our contact page for phone, address and online form.
Apple Blossom Celebrates Love in All Forms - Highlighting the Authentic Side of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
‘Forever Apple Blossom Memories’ campaign will allow visitors of all ages to share their heartwarming Festival memory with the world.
WINCHESTER, VA – The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® continues to draw visitors and locals alike to experience what the Festival has to offer. Led by passionate volunteers, the exuberant citizens of the City of Winchester and Frederick County literally paint the town pink and green to welcome springtime. For 92 years, the Shenandoah Valley has welcomed countless visitors from all parts of the country, and even the world to take part in our Festival. Historically, the Festival has been an amazing source of civic pride that showcases the Winchester-Frederick County community to the rest of the state and country.
Behind all of the festivities and grandeur, there are heartwarming memories and emotions that all began during Apple Blossom. This year, the 93rd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® plans to showcase that Virginia is for Lovers® and that a large supply of that love is created in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.
The ‘Forever Apple Blossom Memories’ campaign will kick-start marketing and awareness for the Festival through various social media posts and flyers alerting fans to go to thebloom.com to submit their Apple Blossom love stories on the new story submission page.
“Our organization is certain that the emotional and personal approach to marketing Apple Blossom will bring in new and older faces for 2020’s event,” Festival Executive Officer Brad Veach said. “The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® was established by hardworking volunteers passionate about our community and to this day that fact still stands. By highlighting the stories of the Festival, we aim to market our homegrown community event from a deeper point of view.”
“The ‘Forever Apple Blossom Memories’ campaign is a great opportunity to share your fond, personal Apple Blossom stories with us. Maybe you have a romantic love story where you met your significant other during a Festival event. What about your child’s first carnival experience? Remember that time you watched the parade with family and friends along one of Winchester’s historic streets? Or maybe you had one of those star-struck encounters with a guest celebrity. If your story is meaningful to you, it’s important to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. Submitted essays are also encouraged to be accompanied by images or even videos.”
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® will delineate, fact check, and organize all stories and images. Content will be used with the permission of the writer and used for both social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and as advertising for events on a full-page ad in the Official Festival Program.
While the 2-week Festival is host to over 40 events, carnival rides, sweet and sticky candy apples, pie-making contests, two parades, and more—the Festival invites new visitors and veteran attendees to have a deeper understanding of what the Festival truly represents, and what exactly it means to the community. Behind the pink and green façade, there is an even more beautiful and authentic meaning and purpose to Apple Blossom.
You too can submit your piece of Apple Blossom history to the Love Story section and add your precious memories to our rich history. Whatever your story may be, however old, however recent, we want to hear it! Share your Apple Blossom love stories with the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and visitors from around the world!
On Thursday, June 21st, our own Miss Apple Blossom Festival, Dot Kelly won the $1000 preliminary talent award, and was 4th runner up at the Miss Virginia Pageant in Lynchburg, VA. In addition, on Saturday, June 23rd, our own Miss Apple Blossom Festival Outstanding Teen, Emily Kinsey, also won overall talent, and took home the crown as Miss Virginia Outstanding Teen – click here for the video.
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.