Getting ready for the Bloom, part 2

Laurie Connelly, ‘Doah Staff Writer
April 24, 2013

We now have less than a week until the big Apple Blossom Festival! As promised I have more updates on the festivities and some more tips to help you survive A.B. 2013.

The Firefighters’ Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3. The parade route starts at the intersection of Cameron and Cork Street, winds arounds Braddock and Washington Street and ends on Handley Boulevard, where the grandstands are located. The parade will be filled with celebrities, fire trucks, marching bands, vintage car and more. After the Firefighters’ Parade, fireworks will be set off at Handley High School. Those will take place at approximately 9:15 p.m., or ultimately whenever it is enough.

The next day, the main event is the Grand Feature Parade which starts at 1:30 p.m. It follows the same route as the Firefighters’ Parade, but is much larger in size. This time you will get to see more celebrities, as well as floats, the Queen, her court and the princesses.

Being so close to the event, we finally know all of the celebrities who are coming this year. As mentioned in my previous article, the Grand Marshal this year is Scotty McCreery, who won the 10th season of American Idol in 2011. Our Queen for the 86th Apple Blossom Festival is Rachel Lynn Matthews. Matthews is the granddaughter of deceased actor Michael Landon, famous for his roles on the television shows “Bonanza” and “Little House on the Prairie.” Her mother Leslie Landon Matthews was Queen of the festival in 1980.

Our Sports Marshal is NASCAR legend Bill Elliot. He has been racing for three decades, and in that time has developed one of the most distinguished records in NASCAR history. This year we are lucky to have two Firefighters’ Marshals: Jep and Jessica Robertson from the popular, reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” All of the celebrities will participate in different events throughout the weekend, but you’ll be able to see all of them in the parade on Saturday.

Now, in order to have a good time during the Bloom, there are some things you should know. During the festival, the majority of the streets downtown are closed for the parades, so a small word of advice — do not drive. There is very little parking and any close parking will cost you. Shenandoah University’s campus is not a far walk from downtown, so leave your car at the school for the weekend. This is the one time of year when walking in the predominant form of transportation in Winchester, so grab your friends and join the fun.

While you are out wandering the town, stop by Jim Barnett Park for Weekend in the Park. Throughout the park you’ll find an arts and crafts show and a midway with plenty of food and games. The Old Town Midway will be located on Piccadilly Street, Fairfax Lane and North Loudoun Street this year. Just remember, this is not a debit card zone — be sure to bring cash with you.

You can’t have a conversation about Apple Blossom without the topic of alcohol coming up. A fair amount of drinking does occur during the festival, so if you are planning to drink, remember to be smart. If you are underage and get caught drinking, or if you are of age, but take it too far, police will not hesitate to lock you up for the remainder of the weekend. Just imagine missing your Monday morning final because you are stuck in jail. That’s not a pretty picture. So when you are out walking around, do not carry open containers or beer cans with you, that is just asking for trouble.

Finally, be sure to enjoy yourself. Go to the parades and celebrate the festival, but remember to represent your campus well. Also, you will be able to see yours truly on Saturday in the parade as I am one of the princesses this year. You are now fully prepared to get bloomed — I hope you have your pink and green ready.

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