The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® has used the concept of Official Themes going back nearly to the first Festival in 1924; although, that use was generally sporadic in the 20th century. The Festival celebrated the 350th Anniversary of the settlement at Jamestown in 1957. After that, the Festival celebrated the entries of Alaska and then Hawaii into the Union. Big anniversaries tended to be “themed” over the years, like the Festival’s Golden 50th Anniversary in 1977. But, as stated, theming was sporadic until the late 1990s when Festival Organizers began to try to integrate images into a cohesive visual concept. In 1998, the Souvenir Program Book cover featured an orchard scene with stacks of bee-boxes, placed there to pollinate the trees.
The 1998 Souvenir Pin was an image of a bee-box. In 1999, the Festival celebrated the area’s connections to George Washington with images on the cover of the Souvenir Program Book, the Souvenir Pin design, the 1999 Christmas ornament, and even carried this through with an appearance by a costumed actor that portrayed General Washington at that spring’s Festival. The following year celebrated the millennial year of 2000 in the same manner; and, in 2001, a Patsy Cline theme helped to create our first really famous catchphrase: “Crazy for the Bloom!” By the 21st century, an opportunity had been created, the momentum was there; and, now, the announcement of each Festival’s unique Theme, and the unveiling of the accompanying artwork, has become an event unto itself; and, it is seen as the “Official Kickoff” for each new Festival!
Recent Festival Themes have tried to stress the elegant, artistic, romantic and fanciful sides of the Festival: elegance by 2011’s “Timeless…” with its iconic gold pocket watch with no hands; artistry by 2012’s “Rhapsody in Bloom” with its grand piano on a Piccadilly Street cityscape; romance by 2013’s “Love to Bloom” and its pink and green heart; and, fancy by 2014’s “The Land of Pink and Green” and its 1960s Beatle-esque landscape. For 2015, Festival Organizers were thinking that they might want to go back to the feel of one of our famous, exclamatory Themes of the past: 2008’s “Get Bloomed!” with its explosive collage of images on a bold, black background. Organizers feel that they have nailed that attempt with the 2015 Theme: “Get Your Bloom On!” The phrase itself conjures up images of “party calls” from the “happenings” of the 1960s, through the disco era, and right up to the present. While the Festival does indeed have its elegant side and its artistic, romantic and fanciful sides, it also has its party side. Whether it is “Get Your Party On,” “Get Your Freak On,” or, “Get Your Shine On,” the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is, after all, our area’s premier “happening!”
The signature artwork accompanying the 2015 Theme would appear to show a black theatrical backdrop. It seems that someone has been painting around and above the black backdrop with bright neon pink paint and bright neon green paint. It appears that they have dropped spatters of the paint onto the black backdrop; and, that they have also tried to clean their brushes of extra paint by brushing them haphazardly across the backdrop. It then appears that someone has stenciled the phrase: “Get Your Bloom On!” in great, bold letters across this messy backdrop, over top of the spatters and brush marks. Then, since this is the Land of Pink and Green, magic and fancy and whimsy have taken over. Somewhere behind the backdrop some sort of “Bloom Energy Machine” has reached critical levels; and, it has exploded. As you are looking at the black backdrop, with its spatters and brush strokes and its stenciled title, neon pink and neon green blossoms are flying straight at you at high speed, coming from somewhere behind the backdrop, tearing holes right through it, and flying out to announce to the Bloom Nation that, yes, it has happened, and it is indeed that time of year again!