Cooperative Living April 2024 - 13

COOPERATIVE FOCUS
" It brings thousands of people
here and helps our businesses
grow and thrive. "
- Hannah Stewart, membership
development specialist, Winchester's
Top of Virginia Regional Chamber
of Commerce
volunteered to host the fi rst
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival,
offi cials say. Th e festival was created to
showcase the northern Shenandoah
Valley and recognize its apple industry,
which remains a major part of
Winchester's agricultural industry.
While 2024 is 100 years, it's not the
100th festival. Th at will come in 2027.
It halted operations of its springtime
celebration during World War II.
Apple Blossom shares the 100thanniversary
milestone with the opening
of the city's historic George Washington
Hotel, the fi rst graduating class from
A
B
Winchester's John Handley High
School, and the founding of the travel
association, all of which are longstanding
partners to the festival.
Shenandoah Valley and Rappahannock
electric cooperatives are among
other annual sponsors. Shenandoah
Valley Electric Cooperative serves
Winchester, while the two co-ops split
coverage of the surrounding Frederick
County.
Th e festival calls on a network of
over 2,000 volunteers and local
businesses to plan it. Dozens of local
civic groups, schools and youth charities
rely on the festival to raise funds for
their organizations through the sale of
concessions, souvenir programs and
grand-feature parade seating.
Although the festival has changed
tremendously since 1924, it still observes
many traditional events, including the
coronation of Queen Shenandoah,
dinners and dances, parades and
nostalgic luncheons. Targeted audiences
for select events fall into just about any
C
category: veterans, sports lovers, art
enthusiasts, gamers, kids and more.
" Th ere is something for everyone, "
Festival President Sharen Gromling says.
A REAL WHO'S WHO
One of the unmistakable draws is the
chance to mingle with celebrities and
childhood heroes. Trying to compile a
short list of those who have participated
in Apple Blossom is sure to leave many
stars out, but a quick jaunt through
attendees from the last couple of decades
illustrates the festival's pull.
To alter Gromling's quote above,
there is " someone " for everyone when it
comes to the festival's ability to attract
big names.
Do you need Hollywood stars?
Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Wayne
Brady, Mario Lopez, Val Kilmer and
Mary Tyler Moore visited.
Are you more into the music scene?
Kevin Jonas, Wayne Newton, Sara Evans,
Scotty McCreery, Fantasia Barrino and
Brenda Lee have graced the streets.
Do you like sports? You'll love these
names. Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays,
Cal Ripken Jr., Jerry Rice, Julius
" Dr. J " Erving, Terry Bradshaw and
Dan Marino have sported pink and/or
green in springs past.
Or, maybe you want someone more
presidential? President Gerald Ford was
minister of the crown in 1975, when
D
(continued on page 12)
A & B: Some of the biggest names in
sports have visited the festival, including
Pittsburgh Steeler NFL Hall of Famer
Terry Bradshaw in 2022 and Baltimore
Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
in 2016.
C: Well-known celebrities are a big draw
for festivalgoers, and the festival is
a big draw for celebrities, such as actor
Kirk Cameron in 2016.
D: NASCAR's Bobby Labonte was the
fi refi ghters' parade marshal in 2017.
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April 2024 * Cooperative Living * 11
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Cooperative Living April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cooperative Living April 2024

Cooperative Living April 2024 - 1
Cooperative Living April 2024 - 2
Cooperative Living April 2024 - 3
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Cooperative Living April 2024 - 6
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