Car Credit Nation “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” Returns with Important Changes
Festival Organizers were not sure how their first-time event “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” would be received this past spring; and, in the end, the success or lack of success was a little bit hard to quantify. Despite terrible winter weather, the event’s early rounds, held in Old Town at the Bright Box Theater, were highly successful. However, the Final Round at the Sprint Tent on Grand Feature Parade Saturday Night created quite a roller coaster ride of feelings. Passionate performances, emotional contestants, grand-scale drama, Big Bill Walton and a standout Landau Murphy Concert were all obvious high points. On the other hand, the night was a long one, after a long day that started before dawn for many. A crowd that was close to triple the size of the crowds at the packed Bright Box looked small in the cavernous 20,000 square-foot Sprint Tent. And, by event end in the early morning hours of Sunday morning, the remaining attendees could see their breath on the cold spring air. What to do? Keep this new event for its radically different and undeniably exciting atmosphere? Or, look for something much more traditional and easier to produce. “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” fans will be pleased to know that Festival Organizers have decided to bring back this popular event, albeit with some fairly significant changes. In 2015, all five allied events: the three preliminary Auditions, the Semi-Finals and the Finals will be held in Old Town at the Bright Box Theater. All five events will be held on Wednesday nights: in January, February, March and April; and, the schedule will be posted soon. The Finals will be held on Wednesday night, April 29th, 2015, which is the middle of the week between “Wine Festival Weekend” and “Parade Weekend.” In order to keep prizes at a high level [$5,000 plus perks for first place; $1,500 for second place; $500 for third place], Organizers realize that they must have ticketing and a ticket charge for each event. There will be 80 G/A seats upstairs and 120 G/A seats downstairs at each event. Prices will be graduated and will run from a low of $5.00 for upstairs seats for the three Auditions, to a high of $40.00 for ringside seats downstairs for the Finals. Some tickets will be held out briefly for each event for purchase by family members of contestants. The public will be kept abreast of the availability of the limited seating throughout the run of the event via thebloom.com, via e-blasts to our fan base, via Facebook, Twitter, and at SABF Headquarters at 540-662-3863.
“Subaru Adventure Show” to Become New Feature at Anthony’s Pizza Weekend-in-the-Park
The Bloom Nation certainly enjoyed the “Back to the Future” theme at the 2014 Anthony’s Pizza Weekend-in-the-Park event! Increased crowds showed their enthusiasm for the event’s return to its traditional layout. And, there are even more changes in the air for this iconic Festival event in 2015! The Boat and RV Show has proved to be a popular addition to the familiar Weekend-in-the-Park line-up; however, it has been a difficult event to produce logistically; and, the heavy equipment makes it very sensitive to bad weather. However, the concept of offering a show of merchandise and services slanted toward outdoor recreation, on the very cusp of summer, has been very popular. Playing off of this interest, the Subaru Adventure Show will feature smaller scale and less expensive outdoor adventures: biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, canoeing; and, especially goods and services that enable family pets to share in family vacations and their owners’ outdoor adventures. Plans are still being worked on; but, this new feature will proudly join returning favorites: the Safelite Auto Glass Car Show, Monkey Joe’s Children’s Funday, and the Wells Fargo Arts and Crafts Show.
The Festival Goes Back to Its Roots on Saturday Night with “Country Music Party Rewind!”
Festival Organizers have worked hard in recent years to keep excitement levels up and the good times rolling after the end of our signature event: the Grand Feature Parade. The “post-parade” slot at the Sprint Festival Event Tent has, unfortunately, been a tough spot to fill in recent years. For many years, the Country Music Party “owned” that slot in the Festival’s schedule with its concept of presenting hot, current, country acts for a reasonable price. But, that concept was basically taken from the Festival some years back by the astronomical increase in the performance fees of country music acts. If the basic price for a headline act back around “Year 2000” was in the range of $15,000, ten years later, the basic price had risen to $100,000 and higher. After reluctantly accepting this new reality, the Festival’s next approach for creating post-parade excitement was the idea of bringing in affordable “up-and-coming” country acts. This approach was certainly successful at times; but, not always; and, it seemed to provoke that great, classic debate that comes up across all musical genres: if the current stars are too expensive, which would you rather see: an established star whose hits have a little age on them; or, a star-in-the-making whose hits are in the future. Long time event attendees seemed frustrated and attendance at the Country Music Party began to fall. Festival Organizers may have over-reacted to this; and, in an effort to bring the excitement back to the Sprint Tent on that final Saturday night of the Bloom, various new concept events were tried, including: a “Salute to the Troops;” a “Southern Rock Party;” and, in 2014, the Finals of “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” For a wide variety of reasons, none of these proved to be the fit for the 20,000-square-foot Sprint Tent that the original Country Music Party was. Festival Organizers are now looking into the possibility that they moved away from the old Country Music Party format too soon; and, that they may have erred in moving away from the only major outlet during the Festival for the area’s number-one musical genre: country music. So, for 2015, the Festival is going to turn back the clock and offer: “Country Music Party Rewind.” The Festival is going to simplify its approach; bring in the best country acts it can find [older acts or newer acts] for the money it can afford to spend; chill down the beer; open up the Sprint Tent; and, throw an old-fashioned Country Music Party! Please stay tuned for further announcements!
In Keeping with Its Purpose, the Festival Offers: “Winchester Cider Tastings and Orchard Tours!”
It is undeniable that many of the orchards that once blanketed the gentle hills around Winchester, the sight of which helped to spawn the Mid-Atlantic Region’s largest springtime festival, have been slowly but surely reduced by urban development. But, they’re not all gone! There are some wondrous vistas still available, particularly west of Interstate 81; and, it has always been one of the stated purposes of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® to pay tribute to the Valley’s agricultural heritage. So, Festival Organizers have chosen that relaxed Sunday, Sunday April 26th, 2015, the Sunday right after the Wine Festival, to institute a brand-new Festival event. On that day, “Winchester Cider Tastings and Orchard Tours” will be offered at Winchester Ciderworks, at 2502 North Frederick Pike, Winchester, 22603. Half-hour tours of the orchards will leave at 11:00am, 12:30pm and 2:00pm. Guides will dispense a wealth of practical information on the planting and growing of fruit trees: on temperature sensitivity for blossoms [a very sensitive subject particularly at Bloom Time]; on spraying and pruning and using the latest “green” methodology to protect the trees and promote tree and fruit growth; on when and how to harvest; and, much more. After the tour, participants will return to the cider works for sampling and tasting. Winchester Ciderworks specializes in the burgeoning new market for gourmet hard ciders; and, that will certainly be the main thrust of the tastings; but, regular juices will also be available for non-drinkers and those under 21. Especially for those new to the area: one of the great local traditions, in place now for nearly a century, is to drive out along the hills and valleys among the orchards, viewing the rows and rows of pink and white blossoms; listening to the buzzing of the bees; and, feeling the growing warmth of the spring sun; and, then to drive into the old colonial town, decked out as it is in full celebration garb, resting and waiting for the next parade to start. This is why this Festival came to be!
Upcoming Media Interface! 2015 Theme Announcement Party [By Invitation] – Westminster-Canterbury – 5:30pm, Wednesday, November 12th, 2014.
Upcoming Public Interface! Miss Apple Blossom Contest – Daniel Morgan Middle School – Purcell Avenue – 7:00pm, Saturday, November 15th, 2014.
Upcoming Public Interface! 2014 Festival Volunteer Fair – Oakcrest Building – North Kent Street – 9:00am, Saturday, November 22nd, 2014.