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Posted April 10, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Idol's Bice named as firefighters' marshal

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By J.R. Williams -- jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Southern rocker Bo Bice, who catapulted to fame in 2005 as an American Idol runner-up, now adds another distinction to his resume.

Bice has been named firefighters' marshal for this year's Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, event officials announced Thursday.

He'll be on hand for several events April 30 and May 1, including the firefighters' reception, rodeo and parade, the bloomers' luncheon and coronation of the queen.

Since impressing Idol judges with a rendition of the Allman Brothers tune "Whipping Post" during his audition, Bice made it to the final round of the contest before finishing second to Carrie Underwood.

Since then, he has enjoyed commercial success with two albums. His debut album, "The Real Thing," achieved gold status. His sophomore attempt, "See the Light," was released in 2007.

Festival Executive Director John Rosenberger said Bice's style meshes with previous marshals.

"I think a Southern rocker with some country flavor is a really good fit," he said. "Over the years, the firefighters' marshal has tended to be somebody from Nashville. It's been more of a country singer. Rock and country has joined, and Bo fits right in there."

Kay Bolliger, past festival president and co-chair of the celebrities committee, said Bice was the committee's only choice for firefighters' marshal. She said Bice has not been contracted for a performance.

"I think he'll be interactive," she said. "He will be at the firefighter's reception, and we're hoping he'll take the stage. I am told that he is very easy to get along with and a nice gentleman."

Rosenberger said he was pleased that Bice, a Birmingham, Ala., native, is another celebrity tapped this year who will stick around for many events.

"These people are coming and staying," he said. "I think we've done well this year."

Bice will spend Thursday night and part of Friday of the festival weekend in Winchester.

Festival officials said they expect to announce the queen's identity on Monday. The festival runs from April 24 to May 3. For more information, visit www.thebloom.

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