- Holidays and Celebrations
Apple Blossom Festivals, Wenatchee, Annapolis Valley, Shenondoah Valley
Washington State Apple Blossom Festival
Held in May
The oldest of the apple blossom festivals held in the United States, this event was inaugurated in 1920 and since then it has been celebrated annually in Wenatchee, Washington.
The Washington State Apple Blossom Festival began with a proposal from Mrs. E. Wagner, a Wenatchee resident wishing to see something similar to the festivities held in her native New Zealand when the local apple orchards were blooming.
Since the beginning, the "Blossom Days," have been gradually growing in size and popularity. The festival is currently celebrated as an 11-day event attracting as much as 100,000 spectators.
In 1947 the festival was officially rename from the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival to its present name, Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, but it continues to be observed in Wenatchee, called the "Apple Capital of the World."
Beyond seeing the flowering Wenatchee Valley orchards, the festivities include parades, a food-fest, a marching band contest, and sports contests. In 1967, the Aomori Apple Blossom Festival in Japan officially announced that it became Wenatchee’s sister festival, and since then the two towns have been exchanging visitors every year.
Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival
Held 5 or 6 days, beginning last week in May
The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia is well-known for its beautiful apple orchards, which begin to bloom sometime between late May and early June.
The first Apple Blossom Festival in the Annapolis Valley was a small celebration in the town of Kentville in 1933. Since then it has evolved into a one-week long festival with events throughout the sixty villages and towns the Valley.
The Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival includes sports contests, apple pie baking and eating contests, a cooking competition, a children’s parade, and, of course, a tours to view the apple blossoms. The climax of the celebration is marked by the coronation of Queen Annapolisa, chosen from among eighteen local princesses.
The festival also benefits the area by drawing attention to its historic background as "The Land of Evangeline," the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s long narrative poem on the expulsion of an Acadian band and their settlement in Louisiana.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
Held in early May
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is a four-day long celebration of the Shenandoah Valley's apple orchards in Virginia. It is held in Winchester, which is considered the the state’s apple center.
The festival was first held in 1924 to heighten public knowledge regarding the historic, scenic, and industrial assets of the area. The festival's motto is: "The bounties of nature are the gift of God."
George Washington was an early landlord in Winchester, settled in 1732. He required his tenants to plant four acres of apple trees.
In the course of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, approx. 250,000 people visit the area to enjoy the pink and white blossoms and the special festivities, which include the crowning of Queen Shenandoah. Notable former Queens include Luci Baines Johnson, former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s youngest daughter and the 2001 Queen Tyne Vance, granddaughter of former President Gerald R. Ford. There are also parades, contests, concerts, a circus, and fireworks.
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