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!
Wise men have said that there is nothing more constant than change; and, as 2019 rolls into 2020, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, Inc. President, Barry Carper, knows that this is very true. During the past six months, Barry has been challenged with three major change/issues, all unrelated but quite significant. First, the Festival learned that, once again, its finances had suffered at the hands of another remarkably rainy spring and the still-lingering, cautionary effects of the Great Recession of the past decade. Second, after thirty-six years on the job, Office Manager, Donna Saville, decided that she needed to step back and create some personal time, and, on June 20th, she announced her retirement. Third, in an unfortunate coincidence, the next day, on June 21st, long-time Executive Director, John Rosenberger, announced that he wanted his retirement to be coincident with his 70th birthday on September 21st, 2019. Even as Barry and his committees have worked through solving each of these problems, he and his Theme Committee wanted the Bloom Nation to know that the ongoing survival of the world-renowned Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is always of paramount importance. So, the Theme Committee was tasked with coming up with a Theme for 2020 that spoke of the continuity and endurance of the Festival. In one meeting, in less than one hour, a Theme was immediately and unanimously adopted; the Theme of the 2020 Festival: “Forever Apple Blossom!”
The artwork accompanying the 2020 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 pleasantly indistinct orchard-like collage of pinks and greens and whites and blues. Super-imposed on this background are two interlocking symbols. First, framing the image and signifying the Festival itself, is a circular wreath of apple blossoms in varying sizes, in bright shades of pink and green. Second, signifying the concept of boundlessness or the infinite, a gold infinity symbol loops up and down across the image, intertwining itself with the wreath. Above the images, in a simple white font, are the words that explain the concept so perfectly: Forever Apple Blossom!” As long as the population of the Bloom Nation wants it and supports it, Festival Organizers will meet every challenge to create it…..to the 100thAnniversary…..and beyond. Symbolically or literally: It’s Winchester, Virginia; it’s April 24th through May 3rd, 2020; it’s Apple Blossom Time; and, it’s forever!