The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® has used the concept of Official Themes going back nearly to the first Festival; 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. 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, the 1999 Christmas ornament, and even carried this through with a Festival appearance by a costumed actor portraying the General. 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!
Last winter, at the suggestion of our Sponsorship and Marketing Director, Dario Savarese, a “Countdown Clock” was installed at the Festival’s well-known web site “thebloom.com.” Four clock faces count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds before the start of each new Festival, which was calculated to start last year at 3:00pm, on Friday, April 27th, 2018. That was the actual starting time of the 2018 United Bank Wine Festival, the Festival’s first event. On that Friday afternoon last spring, a very interesting scene unfolded at Apple Blossom Headquarters. At about 2:30pm, some of the Festival employees, watching the web site, noticed that the “day clock” and the “hour clock” were at “0,” and the minutes and seconds were counting down. People began to gather around a computer terminal as the “minute clock” also hit “0.” Then, a growing crowd began to count down the seconds New Year’s Eve style. When the four counters read “0-0-0-0,” people began hugging and shouting “Happy Apple Blossom!” The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®’s 2019 Theme Committee, led by new Festival President, Barry Carper, set about trying to recreate that same countdown enthusiasm in a single phrase of text; and, in a single visual image. At the 2019 Theme Announcement Party, held at, and generously sponsored by, Westminster-Canterbury on Tuesday evening, November 13th, 2018, the results of their hard work were released to the Bloom Nation. Our 2019 Festival Theme: “It’s Bloom Time!”
The artwork accompanying the 2019 Theme was once again designed by the Festival’s Webmaster and Graphic Designer, Erik Zimmerman, of White Spider, Inc. The background of the poster depicts a gorgeous purple and gold sunset, spread out above a darkened and forested Frederick County ridge. It is springtime; and, a flock of geese are flying across the sunset into the Shenandoah Valley. Superimposed over the sunset is the golden face of a classic clock dial, marked with Roman numerals. In the middle of the clock face is the superimposition of a doorway or portal that magically takes the eye back several hours to the sunny afternoon that preceded the sunset. We are now in an apple orchard, in full bloom, under a sunny, blue sky filled with puffy, white clouds. As if by magic, the orchard spills enthusiastically out of the portal and across the sunset, signifying that, afternoon or evening, day or night, figuratively or literally: It’s Winchester, Virginia; it’s April 26th through May 5th, 2019; it’s the 92nd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®; and, “It’s Bloom Time!”