The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® truly loves the remarkable “Family Connections” that it has developed over the years: the family of actor, Michael Landon; the Cameron/Bure family; the Lucille Ball/Arnaz/Luckinbill family and its connections to the family of John and Sean Astin; the Bing Crosby/Pat Boone/Ferrer family; Dan Aykroyd and his connections to Chevy Chase and Martin Short; the family of President Lyndon Johnson; and, of course, one of the most blessed connections we have, the family of the Reverend Billy Graham. These families are filled with people who have played international roles in politics and entertainment and religion. These are people from the “world stage;” and, yet, there is obviously something about Winchester, Virginia; and, the Shenandoah Valley at Apple Blossom Time that has gotten into their souls. Simply put: No matter where they go, they have never forgotten us! It is therefore, with the greatest enthusiasm, that Festival President, Barry Carper, announces that Virginia Isabella Barker, granddaughter of Virginia “Gigi” Graham; and, great-granddaughter of the Reverend Billy Graham, has been named as Queen Shenandoah XCII-Designate, the 92nd Queen of the Apple Blossoms. She is the daughter of Berdjette and David Barker of Asheville, North Carolina. Berdjette, is the daughter of Gigi Graham, who is, of course, the daughter of Billy Graham.
Isabella provided Festival Organizers with a brief bio upon accepting this honor: “I am a sophomore/junior at Appalachian State University; and, I am working toward my Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting. I plan to attend graduate school to get my Master’s Degree in accounting; and, then get my CPA. I am a member of Sigma Alpha Omega (SAO), which is a nationally recognized Christian Sorority. My sorority has been a huge blessing to me, and brought a lot of wonderful godly women into my life. I also have the great honor of representing Appalachian State University’s Business School, the Walker College of Business, as a Walker Fellow, which is an Ambassador for the College of Business. I absolutely love being outside, whether it is to go hiking or to ride my horse! I have always been a mountain girl. However, I do see myself “changing it up” and moving to a city after college. My dream is to move to Nashville because I am a big country music fan! I love traveling, and have been to Switzerland a few times (my family is Swiss); and, I hope to travel a lot more in the future. I have loved horses since I was a little girl, and never quite got out of my little girl “horse phase.” I currently have my horse at college with me. We used to compete; but, now, college keeps me too busy; but, I would love to compete again one day!”
Isabella also commented on her Family and her impending trip to Bloomtown: “I have two brothers and a sister-in-law, along with my parents whom I love dearly. I heard about the Festival through my grandma (Gigi Graham) who has spoken at the Festival before [Note: the 2016 Prayer Brunch]. My great-grandfather (Billy Graham) was the Grand Marshal in 1972. I was really close to him growing up and he has always been a huge role model for me, especially because of his genuine humility and faith in the Lord. I called him “Daddy Bill.” Especially after his passing, it is a huge honor to be able to continue the family tradition of participating in the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. I have heard wonderful things about the Festival, especially how Winchester really goes all out for it; so, I really look forward to experiencing it first-hand.” Festival Organizers are pleased to note that Isabella’s mother and grandmother will accompany her to Winchester. Isabella’s Coronation will take place in the Patsy Cline Theatre at Handley High School at 1:30pm on Friday, May 3rd.