The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®’s “Voice of the Coronation,” Joe Headley, is assuming a new role at the 2018 Coronation of Queen Shenandoah XCI-Designate, Elizabeth Astin. After many, many years as the Coronation’s smooth-voiced Narrator, Joe will fill the role of Court Ambassador for this year’s ceremony. Joe provided Festival Organizers with a personal history with a distinct Festival slant; and, we quote from it here. “I was born and raised in Frederick County, Virginia; and, as with many residents, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® has always been a part of my life. When attending Miller Elementary School [Note: A former Frederick County school, located inside the city on Whitlock Avenue.], we would walk over to the Handley High School Bowl to watch the rehearsals for Dr. Garland Quarles’s “Pageant of Springtime.” I was in the James Wood High School marching band in all the Festival parades.
After graduating, I attended the University of Virginia and Shenandoah College, before becoming part of our family antique restoration and auction business. In the early 1970’s, my wife, Regina, and I joined other couples to decorate the Queen’s Balls for Cissy Baker and for Susan Ford. Chaperoning Festival celebrities followed; and, when Regina was in charge of the Coronation in 1974, I was asked to help design a new Queen’s throne. I built the Queen’s throne and later the kneeling bench. When then Coronation Narrator and Powhatan Headmaster, Donald Niemann, was injured in a car accident, I was asked to “stand by” as the potential Narrator. It rained for the 1979 Coronation, and it was moved inside, and that’s when I started my nearly 40 years as Narrator. This year I have been asked to be a “celebrity,” instead of announcing them. Thank you, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and all the volunteers that have made these years a memorable experience —Joe Headley.”
Joe, it is obviously the Festival that thanks you for your years and years of loyal service. Your selfless sense of volunteerism and your enduring Festival spirit is a perfect example of how the Festival has been able to endure for 91 years!