by Glenne White
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved spectacle. This is not a fairy tale but the real story of how I fell in love with the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® when I was not yet walking. This was many, many, many years ago. Our family attended Apple Blossom events every year. I am told I loved the parades – both the Fire Fighters and the Grand Feature Parade. Whoever was lucky enough to have this little black-haired toddler on their lap would be getting banged on the legs to the beat of the music. I loved the drumbeat, loved the music, loved clapping my hands and kicking my feet.
The most poignant memories I have are of going to see the magnificent outdoor pageants on the steps of Handley High School. We would have seats as near as possible to the front row on the lush green of the Handley campus where we were closest to the imposing steps of this architecturally wonderful school, whereon the students of the school danced colorfully up and down the steps and, yes, even up on the esplanade, to live music and stories of springtime. I felt so important. It was like I was a part of this magical afternoon. Times were more formal then – I wore my Easter outfit with hat and gloves. Yes, this was a long time ago, but there is still the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah and entertainment.
During the ensuing years, I felt that The Bloom was my special time of year. There was Easter with all its spring colors, then Apple Blossom, and then my birthday. And aren’t fruit orchards, especially the apple trees romantically lovely. How lucky could a young person be?
I marched in my high school band and I danced on the steps of Handley. I met celebrities in the hallowed halls of Handley High who were congregated to be introduced as we lined up to perform. What a rush that was. Good grief, I shook hands with President Johnson!
Over the years, volunteerism with The Bloom became a way of life. I remember for many years being the keeper of the Queen’s long train. To get the wrinkles out of it, I would hang it from the top of our staircase and let it drape nearly to the hallway below. I have sold tickets for events, cleaned floats, answered phones, stuffed envelopes, and chaired committees. I still do. It’s fun. It’s part of my way of life for the past 70 years.
If anyone ever asks me, “What do you love?” I say THE FESTIVAL: the people I have met who are now close friends, the feeling of being a part of a spectacle that is known countrywide as one of the TOP TEN Festivals in the country with over 40 events and ten days of celebration. Yes, I love THE BLOOM!