The 2018 Festival Theme, “Welcome Home,” is already achieving legendary status among Festival Themes. Festival Organizers are having an unusually high rate of success using it as a blueprint for inviting notables to fill the high-profile 2018 positions in the Land of Pink and Green. The Festival has already announced Doyle Lawson returning to headline the Donnegal Insurance Group Bluegrass Festival; local success story, Beth Comstock, returning to her hometown to headline the Valley Health Business-at-the-Bloom Luncheon; and, just yesterday, Ruth Graham was announced as returning to the Apple Capital to be the Featured Speaker at the Prayer Brunch Presented by Knouse Foods/Musselman. Now, Festival President, Mike Stanfield, is very pleased to announce that Sean Astin’s middle daughter, Elizabeth, has accepted the Festival’s invitation to return to Bloomtown to serve as Shenandoah XCI-Designate, the 91st Queen of the Apple Blossoms.
In 1964, TV legend, Lucille Ball, served as the Festival’s Grand Marshal. For the 75th Anniversary Festival in 2002, Lucy’s granddaughter, Katharine Desiree Luckinbill, served as Queen Shenandoah LXXV. Lucy’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, accompanied Katharine, and fell in love with the area. Lucie was a close friend of Patty Duke’s; and, in 2004, Festival Organizers, with Lucie’s help, were able to bring Patty’s son, hot young actor, Sean Astin [just finishing “The Ring Trilogy”], to the Festival. And, the rest, as they say, is history!
From her self-composed statement: “Elizabeth Louise Astin has always been proud to be a member of a family that is deeply involved in the entertainment industry. Her father is well known film actor, Sean Astin; her sister is actor and singer/songwriter Ali Astin; her uncle is TV and film star, Mackenzie Astin; and, her grandparents are actor, John Astin, and Academy Award-winning actress, Patty Duke. Elizabeth prefers to spend her time behind the camera, working as a director and volunteering at the Motion Picture Academy, where, being very active in the Girl Scout organization, she earned her Girl Scout Silver Award. She leads a tutoring program at her local library; serves as a vocal member of the National Honors Society; serves as Vice President of Students for Equal Rights Foundation; and, as Secretary for her school’s “She’s the First” feminist group.”
“She is currently a sophomore at Oaks Christian High School. When time permits, she performs with her dance team, and acts and sings on stage. Elizabeth’s true passion lies in lifting up those around her, from her friends to her fellow Girl Scouts to her sisters. No matter how busy she is, her favorite activity is spending time with her sisters, Bella (12) and Ali (21). She excitedly remembers her first visit to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® when she could hardly see out of the car as she rode alongside her father when he was Grand Marshal in 2004. A few years ago when she sat beside her older sister, Ali (Queen Shenandoah LXXXVII), she dreamed of the incredible opportunity to come back and take up the title herself. She is overjoyed to be back, bringing the Astin family along with her to a place that has always welcomed her with such warmth and love.”
Elizabeth Astin’s featured public appearances [among other appearances] will be her formal presentation to the Bloom Nation at The Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner on Thursday evening, May 3rd; her appearance at the Sunrise Medical Laboratories Queen’s Ball at the George Washington Hotel on Friday, May 4th, the Coronation in the Patsy Cline Theatre at John Handley High School on Friday afternoon, May 4th; and, her iconic ride on her gold apple throne at the head of the Pep Boys Grand Feature Parade on Saturday afternoon, May 5th.