Our View: John’s ‘signature moment’

Posted: May 11, 2013

What John Rosenberger will remember about this 86th edition of “The Bloom,” aside from the blue skies and the huge crowds, will be the happiness of it all — and the absence of complaints that testifies to it. Save for the mystery of the missing parade-route chairs — solved with the assistance of Winchester Police spokeswoman Lauren Cummings — this was, by and large, a fault-free festival.

“Everything just seemed to work,” Mr. Rosenberger said Thursday. “Last year, I had a total of, maybe, a dozen complaints. This year, and here it is Thursday, and I don’t think I’ve had a total of five complaints.”

That, in itself, is memorable, though, while highly gratifying, is not what this page calls a “signature moment.” Each year, we ask Mr. Rosenberger for a personal snapshot, something that captures, for him, the essence of the festival.

This year, in like fashion to last May, it comes down to observations made while walking. Mr. Rosenberger enjoys nothing more than a good stretch of the legs, especially at Apple Blossom. On Firefighters Friday, he parked at Handley and, as afternoon yielded to evening, he started walking back toward downtown, and festival headquarters.

“I like to do that,” he says. “I don’t know how many people actually know me, but if you want to find out what’s on people’s minds, that’s the way to do it.

“I left about 6:00 and met the parade coming toward me. Gosh, it was a beautiful evening; the sky was so blue and the crowd so huge. I could see the color guard and the antique fire trucks coming up Washington Street. Following the parade backward into Old Town, it’s great.”

In fact, Mr. Rosenberger advises festival aficionados to traverse the same path.

“You get an awful lot of positive feelings, and see an awful lot of people just having a good time,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about. It still gives me a charge after all these years.”

And then, almost as an afterthought, Mr. Rosenberger said, “Geez, it was such a good ‘Bloom.’ And if that (walk) was not my ‘signature moment,’ then talking to Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. in his car at the Grand Feature Parade was.”

On Monday: One last look at “The Bloom,” as Mr. Rosenberger expounds on ticket sales and the future of the Midway in downtown Winchester.