Do we need more proof that there is an undefinable magic in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® that finds its way into the hearts of tourists, vendors, carnies, performers, and, yes, celebrities, every year? And, that they carry that magic with them for years after their visits here? One of the Festival’s most popular Grand Marshals in many, many years was Sean Astin, who filled that role along with Co-Grand Marshal, Loni Anderson, in 2004. Many Festival attendees were charmed by the fact that Sean brought his entire family with him at that time, including then 7-year-old Alexandra Louise “Ali” Astin. Chevy Chase’s daughter, Cydney, was the Queen that year; and, after viewing the splendor and excitement of her reign, what would any 7-year-old, self-professed “girlie girl” say but, “I want to come back and be the Queen someday.” And, what can Festival Organizers ten years in the future respond with, but, “How often do you get to make Sean Astin’s daughter’s dreams come true?” It is, therefore, with the greatest pleasure that Festival President, Lou Ann Thompson, announces that Ali Astin, daughter of Sean and Christine Astin, granddaughter of Patty Duke and John Astin, will be crowned as Queen Shenandoah LXXXVII, during the upcoming 87th edition of “the Bloom.”
Alexandra Louise Astin was born November 27th, 1996, into a family of actors. Her grandparents are actor, John Astin, (the original “Addams Family”); and, Academy Award-winning actress, Patty Duke (“The Patty Duke Show” and “The Miracle Worker”). Her father is much-in-demand film actor, Sean Astin (“The Goonies,” “Rudy,” and “The Lord of the Rings”); and, her uncle is TV and film star, Mackenzie Astin (“The Facts of Life” and “Iron Will”). Alexandra, who prefers to be known as Ali, got her own start in show business at the tender age of 3, when she appeared as the Hobbit, Eleanor, in “The Return of the King,” the final installment in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. She has pursued her passion for performing as a member of a community theatre group in Los Angeles, where she recently had a star turn in an advanced production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” Currently, Ali is starring in the animated feature, “Ribbit,” along with father. Ali is a member of an acapella choir at her school; and, she has performed with them in Carnegie Hall. She is actively involved in the music scene in her community lending her voice to two different bands. In addition to her passion for the arts, Ali is a straight A student, tackling many AP & Honors courses in her college preparatory work. She is a Captain of the Varsity Cheer Squad and a Lead Prosecutor on the Varsity Mock Trial Team. She’s involved in the National Honors Society and has been a dedicated girl scout for 12 years, currently completing her Gold Award. Ali co-founded her school’s Poetry Society and in her spare time tutors students in several subjects. Ali believes that no minute should ever be wasted. She has begun the process of finding the “right” University and trusts that all of her hard work and passion for life will be her calling card. She feels that her greatest accomplishment is the nurturing of her two little sisters, Elizabeth (11) and Isabella (8). Ali remembers the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® in vivid detail and is thrilled to return this year, with her sisters in tow.
Features of Ali Astin’s reign will be her crowning as Queen Shenandoah LXXXVII at the iconic “Coronation of the Queen” ceremony at 1:30pm on Friday afternoon, May 2nd, in the Patsy Cline Theatre at John Handley High School; and, of course, her celebrated ride on the Queen’s Float at the front of the Grand Feature Parade at 1:30pm on Saturday, May 3rd. Ali’s parents will both be attending the Festival; although, Sean Astin has a variety of projects going at the time of the Festival; and, the schedule of his local appearances is still being worked out. Stay tuned for a future Media Release dealing strictly with Sean’s appearances at the 87th Bloom!