by Joan Dickinson
We moved to Winchester in July 1971. We experienced our first Apple Blossom Festival in 1972. We were impressed by the beauty and energy of the community during that weekend. That pride endures. My sister, Joy, and her family from Richmond, joined us for our first festival.
Almost every year we have shared the festival fun with house guests for that colorful weekend. From an early age, our sons loved the traditions…Friday holiday from school, carnival rides, junk food, the vendors, the circus, cheering on the parade participants, and the freedom to visit with friends along the parade route.
For many years my husband and I enjoyed the Young Adult’s Dance or the Queen’s Ball on Friday night. One year we attended the Young Adult’s Dance at the Armory and the celebrities were introduced. The young Country Music Star, Tanya Tucker, was among them. When she was introduced, she was lifted onto the stage, and spontaneously performed several songs with the local band playing that night. It was terrific!!
Now we watch the Fireman’s parade on Friday and walk to the home of Pete and Frances Lowe on Jefferson for the awesome fireworks on the grounds of Handley High School. Our sons and their families sometimes join us. If they are late getting to town, they know where to find us after the parade. Such a comfortable gathering in the home of dear friends.
On Saturday, we are lucky enough to view the Grand Feature parade along the route at the homes of several friends. For years we have watched the bulk of the Grand Feature from the yard of Jim Snider. ( I met Jim (G’ daddy) at a sale years and years ago. We were bidding on the same piece of furniture. I had the top bid. Afterward, Jim introduced himself and told me he would refinish the piece for me. He did. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.) After the Grand Feature Parade, we would put money in a hat and draw a number of a horse running in the Kentucky Derby. We moved to the basement of Jim’s house and watched the race and cheered for our horse. Years later, Jim’s granddaughter, Kathy, is the gracious hostess, along with Jim’s daughter’s and their husbands, Carolyn and Terry Plank, and Betsy and Buddy Orndorff. I always tell them going there is like going home for my family. So many fond memories.