Actor Sean Astin to crown daughter at festival

Daily staff report

Actor Sean Astin will serve as minister of the crown at the 2014 Apple Blossom Festival.

Astin will place the crown on his daughter Ali during her coronation as Queen Shenandoah LXXXVII on May 2 at the Patsy Cline Theatre in John Handley High School in Winchester.

Astin will arrive in Winchester on May 1 after launching his new radio show in Los Angeles that morning. His only public appearance at the festival will be at the coronation.

The actor previously served as Apple Blossom Grand Marshal in 2004, following the release of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, in which Astin played Samwise Gamgee.

Astin’s acting credits include turns in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Goonies,” “Memphis Belle,” “Rudy” and “Courage Under Fire.” He won the Saturn Award for best supporting actor for his work in “The Lord of the Rings.”

In other festival news, Winchester K-9 German shepherd Kota has been named honorary grand marshal, according to a news release.

The release also named Smokey Bear as the festival’s honorary firefighters’ marshal. Both will ride in festival parades next month.

Kota, who was injured in the line of duty in January, has become a worldwide sensation, garnering nearly 38,000 likes on his Facebook page, the release said. A fall through an attic floor while in pursuit of two breaking and entering suspects on Franklin Street in Winchester resulted in Kota breaking his leg. He underwent extensive surgery. The 6-year-old dog continues to undergo therapy, but veterinarians are optimistic of his return to duty in the future.

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