Spectacular Apple Blossom Festival in the Shenandoah Valley
A spring ritual in the Shenandoah Valley is the sensational Apple Blossom Festival. Known as The Bloom, each year to celebrate the arrival of the annual blooms, the community puts on an amazing show. This year marks the 88th celebration, beginning April 24 and continuing through May 3, with an array of events spanning all generations.
The excitement never seems to wane as signs of spring remind residents to “Get Your Boom On!” – this year’s theme. Colors of pink and green, whether in nature, apparel, or decorating, dominate the color palette of the area.
We have lived in the midst of it all for more than 35 years with our house facing the Handley High School campus on the edge of the designated parade route and the location where the fireworks are launched.
It never ceases to amaze us how our quiet neighborhood becomes a teeming hot bed of activity — two parades (Firefighters and Grand Feature), two foot races, street vendors, food concessions of every sort, musical performances, and more. I can actually walk across the street from my house and buy a funnel cake – how many of you can ever do that!
Our children are true Apple Blossom Festival advocates – born in the 1970s in Winchester, they grew up going to events. Good friends of the family lived in a house on the parade route on North Washington Street, so we were immediately drafted into the blooming way of life when we moved to the area in the late 1960s. We learned how to get around, what groups to look for in the parades, and how to police our children through the food and toy concessions. Needless to say, our children and now their children partake in the festivities as often as they can with an enthusiastic zeal.
On Friday afternoon, we can sit on our front porch and cheer on youngsters for the one-mile run, and on Saturday morning, we can encourage adults on the longer trek through town. It is certainly a change of pace from the mundane of the normal weekend routine.
As the years have progressed, events have been added including a two-day wine fest, fireworks display, pumps and pearls for ladies, and more. Since, the fireworks are on the school campus, directly in front of our house, our grandkids tell everyone to come by and see our fireworks!
This is the ultimate family-friendly event with highlights for all ages – car shows, craft vendors, carnival rides, circus performances, apple pie baking contest, celebrities, coronation of a queen, and a royal court.
Weekend in the Park at Jim Barnett Park offers many fun activities for all ages. Music spans offerings from disco, bluegrass, country, rock ‘n’ roll, and big band throughout the festival. This is the ultimate small-town festival with a metropolitan feeling.
But before you know it, it is over —trash has been miraculously picked up, crowds are gone, traffic has disappeared, and the street is back to normal . . . until next year.
It is bittersweet – it was nice to have the distraction, but we know it can’t go on forever. What a glorious break, especially after a harsh winter, and a great welcoming of spring and warmer weather.
Don’t miss these exciting events in Winchester. For details and tickets – visit The Bloom.