One of Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Barry Carper’s, stated goals this year was to build up the Grand Feature Parade, and return it to its almost mythical status. The “Parade Problems” are not drastic or immediate. The problems have been around for years. Some years are better. Some years are not. But, since the turn of the millennium, there has been a persistent trend: quality Parade Units are increasingly hard to come by. Fewer groups, clubs and businesses are willing to put the time and money into producing an annual Parade Float. Special Parade Units, such as the Shriner cars and acrobats and equestrians and clown troops find it harder and harder to replace their aging members with younger recruits. High school bands put their uniforms away after football season, and concentrate on jazz and concert in the springtime. On top of this, for the past three years, Grand Feature Parade Saturday has been drizzly, or cold, or both. By last year, after units dropped out due to the weather, Festival Organizers could only put 135 Units on the Parade Route.
But, this story has a happy 2019 “Bloom Time” ending! The Festival’s Parade Development Committee; Volunteers from the Winchester Host Lions Club; and, Festival Staff at Apple Blossom Headquarters, have spent months scanning other Parade Line-Ups, surfing the Internet, and recruiting bands; and, Festival Organizers are excited to announce that, as of April 19th, the Grand Feature Parade is lining up at over 190 Units! To help the Bloom Nation follow the action in their Programs, some of this year’s Featured Units are:
- Unit 137 – S. Marine Corps Band, Quantico, Virginia.
- Unit 140 – Charro Group [25-Dancing-Horse Equestrian Unit], The Plains, Virginia.
- Unit 227 – Washington Redskins Marching Band, Landover, Maryland; presented by Back 2 the Grind of Winchester, Virginia.
- Unit 235 – Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; presented by Ability Home Care of Woodstock, Virginia.
- Unit 242 – Red Crooked Sky [Native American Dancers], Portsmouth, Virginia.
- Unit 302 – Virginia Military Institute Regimental Band, Lexington, Virginia.
- Unit 307 – Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, Madison, Wisconsin.
- Unit 317 – Pittsburgh Steeline Drumline, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; presented by Qualified Staffing of Winchester, Virginia.
- Unit 323 – Fralinger String Band, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; presented by Shockey Precast of Winchester, Virginia.
- Unit 329 – American Originals Fife and Drum, Annapolis, Maryland; presented by Schenck Foods of Winchester, Virginia.
- Unit 339 – DC Wheels [Street Skateboarding Group], Washington, DC.
…..Plus, Celebrities, over 40 Floats, 15 fantastic full-sized High School Marching Bands, over 60 Special Units, and much more. Festival Parade Seating, in very choice locations, is available at the Official Festival Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet open now at 1849 South Pleasant Valley Road. But, literally dozens of other charities, churches, Boy and Girl Scout Troops also sell seating along the Parade Route…..the well-named “Trail of Pink Petals”…..for both Friday’s May 3rd Firefighters’ Parade and Saturday’s May 4th Grand Feature Parade.