Area residents, pink-and-green-souled Members of the Bloom Nation, have always been tremendously proud of the fact that the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival’s® reputation seems to extend out well beyond the northern Shenandoah Valley, well beyond the borders of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in fact, beyond the entire Mid-Atlantic Region. But, just how far afield does that reputation extend? Does the Bloom really have the national reputation that we like to think it has? Throughout the 21st century, the Festival has steadily received what can only be described as “national honors;” and, this new century started with a bang:
- On February 28th, 2000, Time Magazine issued “Time Select Travel” for the Year 2000. The lead article was entitled “On the Road: A Sampling of Great Events from Missoula to Montreal.” The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® was one of the featured events with an article and a color photo.
- In June of 2000, during the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Library of Congress, a special exhibit was created that paid tribute to a select group of “Local Legacies: Events and Institutions that Document America’s Grassroots Cultural and Historical Heritage.” On nomination by Senator John Warner and Representative Frank Wolfe, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® was so enshrined.
- In the May 2001 issue of Southern Living, there was a feature on the Winchester Area; and, under the heading of “What’s Happening” was an article on the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®.
- In 2002, the American Bus Association included the Festival in its rankings of the Top 100 Events in North America [the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America]. The judgment was published in the January 2002 edition of its Association magazine: “Destinations.”
- In 2003, the Internet travel site, com, named the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® one of the Top 25 Small Town Events in the United States: “selected for outstanding excellence from over 100,000 events.”
During the ensuing years, the Festival has continued to rack up awards on a local, state and national level: among them a Stars of the Industry Award for Outstanding Event of the Year in 2007; a Best Annual Festival/Event in 2013 and 2014; and, highlighted by a long string of Grants it has received from the Virginia Tourism Corporation for excellence in promoting the Commonwealth of Virginia to out-of-state tourists.
And, where are we currently? On October 21st, 2014, USA Today listed the “Ten Best Southern Cultural Festivals;” and, there among them, as we knew it should be, was the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® in Winchester, Virginia. And, the latest honor? Just this week, the Festival was notified by Fodor’s Travel that it was listed in an article entitled: “Ten Best Spring Flower Festivals,” along with such luminaries as Biltmore Blooms, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Portland Rose Festival and the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival: http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/americas-best-spring-flower-festivals#!1-intro.
Fodor’s is the world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information, and the first relatively professional producer of travel guidebooks. Fodor’s Travel and Fodors.com are divisions of Random House, Inc. In 1996, Fodor’s launched a travel-related website fodors.com, which was nominated for a Webby Award in 2004. Today, Fodor’s has published more than 440 guides (in 14 series) on over 300 destinations, and has more than 700 permanently placed researchers all over the world.