The 2014 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is shaping up to be a wonderfully sentimental affair. This 87th Celebration of Springtime seems to be all about returning to roots, and dreams coming true, and the simple pleasures of being in the Land of Pink and Green. The Ladies’ Horticultural Luncheon is one of the Festival’s oldest and most traditional events. Black-and-white photos from the 1930s show the George Washington Hotel Ballroom packed with elegant ladies in hats and gloves. Event Organizers in recent years have worked hard to present a Featured Speaker who embodies all that this event has ever represented in the past; and, what might now be called “The Modern Spirit of the Area.” Festival President, Lou Ann Thompson, is therefore thrilled to announce that Winchester’s own Lauryn Ricketts will return to headline this year’s Ladies’ Luncheon.
Lauryn Ricketts will be attending her 30th consecutive Festival this year [that would be her entire life], but this time she will be attending as an “honored guest.” Filling the role of the Featured Speaker at the Ladies’ Horticultural Luncheon is “an absolute dream-come-true” in her eyes; and, “a great honor.” Ricketts was born and raised in Winchester, Virginia, as was her entire family (extending back to her great-grandparents). She graduated from John Handley High School in 2001 and continued her education at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Her hopes to someday become a broadcast meteorologist were defined at a very young age; and, this was a dream she never relinquished. During college, she began to intern at TV station WRIC in the Richmond area, gaining valuable experience while working with several resident broadcast meteorologists. When summer rolled around, Ricketts was fortunate enough to capitalize on the relationships she had forged on the Richmond TV circuit to gain an internship at FOX5 in Washington, D. C., with her now mentor, Sue Palka, and the FOX5 Storm Team. It was here that she developed lifetime connections in the D. C. market.
Lauryn continued to work at WRIC during her time in college; and, at FOX5 on breaks and in the summer. When college ended, FOX5 in Washington D.C. offered her a job at the young age of 21. From there, her career took off. In 2007, her hometown of Winchester, Virginia, was starting an ABC affiliated television station and they needed a meteorologist. Lauryn was their girl. On March 5, 2007, Lauryn kicked off her gig as TV3 Winchester’s first Chief Meteorologist, right in her hometown! She continued her duties as Chief Meteorologist at TV3 for five additional years (covering the small tornado outbreak in the region in 2008, the historic blizzards of 2009 and 2010, and several flooding and ice storm events). After she left TV3 Winchester, she headed back to FOX5 for the fourth time in her career. Then in 2013, the chance to work with weather greats, Bob Ryan and Doug Hill, at WJLA in Washington D.C. was extended to her. She took the position of Broadcast Meteorologist in January 2013 and now works for WJLA which also includes News Channel 8 and WTOP 103.5 FM.
Lauryn has enjoyed everything the Festival has had to offer her during her life, including her enthusiasm for the “pooper scoopers” at three years old which was covered by The Winchester Star; singing in the chorus for the Queen’s Coronation while at Daniel Morgan Middle School; working at several Apple Blossom Events during her time at John Handley High School; serving as a Court Princess with several of her Winchester friends for the 75th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®; and, commentating the Grand Feature Parade for four consecutive years for local television. Returning to her hometown now as an Official Festival Guest/Celebrity brings her Festival love “full circle.” It is “a dream-come-true, and she couldn’t be more thrilled!”