The Bloom: All American Fun!

This weekend I attended the 87th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia. Growing up in Winchester, this was a staple of my childhood and I now bring my family in for the big event every year.

The Bloom, as it is often called, is a weekend full of good old-fashioned, All American fun including parades, fireworks, a craft show, antique car shows, a circus, carnival rides and games, and plenty of carnie food. The weekend centers around the “Grand Feature Parade” which is literally the BEST.PARADE.EVER. This is not an exaggeration! The parade runs about 2.5 hours long and features over 140 units of amazing, diverse, strange and wonderful talent.


Here are some of the highlights:

o   Marching and Music- Flags are twirling and instruments are held high as sweaty kids proudly march the two-mile parade route. But that’s not all!!! The Bloom also features Bagpipes, Fife and Drum, a Spirit Band…and more! 

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o   Bolivian Dancers- The Bolivian community is large and thriving in the D.C. area with over 30 folkloric dance troupes. Four of these groups performed in the Apple Blossom Parade this year which was a huge treat for spectators.

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o   D-List Celebrities- Even though these people are only a little bit famous or sometimes just related to famous people, it is still very exciting to see them drive by and give them a big wave. RG III’s parent’s were present and many were hopeful that RG III would tag along. Sorry, Redskin fans…not today. Sean and Catherine of The Bachelor where featured guests of the parade which was truly very exciting for fans of the show, present company included!

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o   Princesses Galore- We are in the South, home to large numbers of beauty pageants and queens crowned for every organization. Here is where they get to show off their titles!


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o   Carnival Food- Cotton candy, funnel cakes, deep-fried candy bars, chocolate covered bacon, cheddar-bacon-mashed potatoes on a stick…it is all here.

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o   The Shriners- Ok…who doesn’t love the Shriners? They are these older gentlemen who squish themselves into teeny tiny cars and then zip up and down the street at high speeds all while performing complex formations while almost running into one another. This is always a parade highlight.

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 o   Cowboys and Indians-  Hmmm…just some more interesting and wonderful parade sites! Nothing is too dull or too unusual for this parade.

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o   Pink and Green- These are the colors of the Apple Blossom Festival and pretty much everyone goes all out to show their spirit. Old and young alike, even dogs…everyone looks like spring.

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o   Proud Americans- Winchester loves its veterans and there are many floats and cars dedicated to celebrating their service to the United States. 

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o  Blooming Decorations- The halls are all decked in pink and green. The town looks beautiful and it is fun to drive around to see the creative and fun ways people get into the spirit of things.

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o  Uncategorized Wonderfulness- From the boys who drive their four-wheeler and scoop poop to the guy who karate chops wood for two whole miles, the Apple Blossom parade will offer spectators with some of the best entertainment available in America.

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Winchester, Virginia is about 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is held the first weekend of May every year. For more information, check out their website:

Hope to see you at The Bloom next year. Don’t forget to wear your pink and green!


12 thoughts on “The Bloom: All American Fun!

  1. I’m going to share this post with my students. We are in the middle of a state project and the VA team would get a kick out of seeing the pictures from this festival. FYI: My students don’t like parades where they aren’t being thrown something. Louisiana kids expect throws. Ha! 🙂

    • Awesome! I hope they enjoy the pictures. Your students would not have been disappointed. Throws included: American flags, tattoos, pink and green sunglasses, and lots of candy.

      • Ha! I love it. That tidbit will blow their minds. No clue why but throws are a big deal for 10 year olds.

    • Me too! I live in the D.C. area now and there aren’t a lot of festivals around here or maybe I just need to look a little harder for them. When I lived in Georgia there were tons of great festivals. My favorites were: The Rattlesnake Round-Up, The Vidalia Onion Festival, and Lumberjack Days. Thanks for commenting!!

  2. What a fun post! 🙂 Loved each picture and each activity – such a wonderful get together of cultures, talents and colors. When one sees a post like this and thinks about the events that happened, one feels all refreshed and rejuvenated – there’s so much hope. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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