WINCHESTER — When selecting a theme for the next Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, organizers wanted something that reflected their hopes for the future.
They did it in three words: Forever Apple Blossom.
“We expect the festival will be a wonderful part of our community forever,” Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival President Barry Carper said Wednesday night when announcing the theme during an unveiling party at Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury.
New promotional posters for the 93rd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, scheduled for April 24 through May 3 in and around Winchester, showcase the theme by incorporating an infinity symbol intertwined with pink apple petals and green leaves. The design was created by Erik Zimmerman of White Spider Inc. in Cross Junction.
Amusingly, a sign showing the new Forever Apple Blossom logo was inadvertently displayed sideways during Wednesday’s unveiling. Retired festival director John Rosenberger stepped in and straightened the logo so the more than 100 people in attendance didn’t have to tilt their heads.
Rosenberger’s 20-year tenure as president ended Monday when festival officials announced that Brad Veach, 45, of Frederick County, had been hired as his successor.
“I look forward to an exciting year and meeting everybody,” Veach told the crowd Wednesday in his first public appearance as director.
The annual theme announcement serves as the official kickoff for each year’s festival. Previous themes have included Crazy for the Bloom, Timeless, Welcome Home and Get Your Bloom On.
“Here we are talking about Apple Blossom, and we just had our first snow of the year yesterday,” Carper said on Wednesday.
Despite the cold, Carper encouraged everyone to think spring by buying tickets to next year’s Apple Blossom events when they go on sale this morning at festival headquarters at 135 N. Cameron St. in Winchester.
Carper reminded people that many of the most popular events, including the Sports Breakfast and Queen’s Dinner, sell out quickly, so it’s wise to buy tickets as soon as possible.
“If you want Prayer Brunch tickets, you better get them,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll be able to get them after Christmas.”
Online ticket sales are expected to start in a few days, Carper added, and event tickets will also be available at the pop-up Apple Blossom store that officials plan on opening in late winter or early spring at a still-to-be-determined location.
Some significant changes to traditional festival events were also announced on Wednesday:
The two-day Weekend in the Park will become the one-day Barrett Machine Sunday Spectacular.
The Bluegrass Festival will move from Shenandoah University to Jim Barnett Park, where it will become part of the Barrett Machine Sunday Spectacular.
The bleachers at the Queen’s Reviewing Stand on Handley Boulevard will not be installed for the Firefighters’ and Grand Feature parades. Ground-level chairs will be used for ticketed seating.
According to an Apple Blossom media release, the changes were prompted by limited festival revenues and rising costs.
“It has become increasingly obvious to festival organizers that some festival events simply do not resonate with the public in the 21st century as they did in the last century,” the release states. “The festival is constantly called on to reinvent itself to match a changing world.”
For more information about the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, visit thebloom.com.