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Posted May 2, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Women go wild at Bloomers' Luncheon

Martha Chrisman and Shelly Lee dance
Martha Chrisman, left, and Shelly Lee, both of Winchester, dance during the Wal-Mart Bloomers' Luncheon held Friday at the Shentel Festival Tent. Rich Cooley/Daily


View Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival slideshows and video

grand marshal Erik Estrada at the Wal-Mart Bloomer's Luncheon
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival grand marshal Erik Estrada addresses the crowd of women at the Wal-Mart Bloomer's Luncheon on Friday at the Shentel Festival tent. Rich Cooley/Daily

Julie Marrow and Danielle Donaldson dance
Julie Marrow, 43, left, and Danielle Donaldson, 25, right, both of Winchester, dance during the Wal-Mart Blooomer's Luncheon held at the Shentel Friday. Rich Cooley/Daily

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

WINCHESTER -- By 10 a.m., a line was forming -- a wave of women in pink and green, some already nursing cocktails.

Inside the Sprint tent behind Winchester Medical Center, staff at the 22nd annual Wal-Mart Bloomers' Luncheon were waiting for the unrefreshed.

Meghan Brown, of Winchester, was queued with the rest and colorfully dressed. She came to the legendary ladies-only Apple Blossom party for the atmosphere and the appletinis.

"Nobody's wilder than we are," she said, incredulous at other women merely chatting. "Nobody's whooping and hollering!"

There was lunch waiting inside, too, on dozens of decorated tables in front of a large stage. Hundreds of women were taking pictures and clamoring for free T-shirts declaring "GET NAKED," which were thrown from the stage.

By 11 a.m., just about the time Erik Estrada showed up, the ratio of women to plastic cups was one to one. Estrada grabbed the microphone and bared a bit of leg.

Everyone hollered.

"You're making me have a 1977 flashback," he said. "I've got a pink tie, pink shirt, pink socks and a pink thong."

The crowd requested proof.

"Keep this tradition going," he said, his underpants hidden. "One day I can come back and be crowned queen."

Estrada and the rest of the festival's celebrities showed up early on to comment on the event's reputation. Queen Shenandoah LXXXII-designate Ashley Taylor Landon, in a long, white dress, came with her maids of honor. Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler, spoke as well.

When firefighters' marshal and "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice came down, the crowd again came running.

Bice said he wasn't disappointed.

"I've been told this is the party of the party," he said. "This is for the bloomers, not the late bloomers.

"I've been having fun with my buddy Erik Estrada. You have an absolutely gorgeous community."

The celebrities didn't stick around, and the ladies were left to dance. By noon, everybody was on the floor.

Maggie Doherty, of Winchester, was seated with her friends at a table right next to the crowd. As three-dozen ladies shook to "It's Raining Men" behind her, she frowned. Something was missing.

"I could use some boys," she said. "We want to go to the Stag Luncheon. This should be co-ed, but then it may get out of control.

"I think that women kind of get crazy when they get together and drink."

Cory Einhorn was attracting attention. For the past several years, he's passed out free tanning cards and thrown T-shirts for Beach Bum Tanning at the event.

"This is one of my favorite events to go to," he said. "They have a good time. Every year, we get a new employee, and we say, 'You have no idea what you're getting into.'"

He said as the party wore on, the girls got frisky.

"I'm pretty sure we'll end up on Facebook in the next couple of hours," he said.

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