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By J.R. Williams -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- There were few hiccups for the 84th Bloom as favorable weather drew big crowds for the annual celebration, officials said Monday.
Thousands crowded downtown over the weekend for lengthy parades, themed activities and a glimpse of this year's celebrities, but event planners and police reported no major issues.
"I thought it was a grand festival," said Tom Scully, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. "It was just gorgeous. I don't think we could have asked for anything better."
Volunteers were scheduled to attend a wrap-up party Monday, and cleanup crews continued their work to bring the city back to its normal pace.
"Very few problems," said John Rosenberger, the festival's executive director. "Very few flaws, very few negatives, very few complaints. Very smooth."
He noted the parades, the return of Lynn Morris to the stage at the Bluegrass Festival and the Disco Party as personal favorite events.
Through the event, officials lauded the attitude of Queen Shenandoah Caitlin Brunell, who dodged devastating tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where she attends the University of Alabama, to participate in the festivities. Other dignitaries -- Barry Sanders, Debbie Reynolds, Crystal Gayle, Bonnie Blair -- all said they enjoyed their short time in Winchester.
Crowds were treated to two parades that lasted nearly four hours each. Sirens blared during a special section at the end of Friday's Firefighters' Parade, the first time in about 25 years that trucks were allowed to do so.
"I think it was a real nostalgic experience for a lot of local people," Rosenberger said.
The return of sirens was billed as on a one-year trial basis. Any violators were warned of a permanent ban.
Lloyd Winters, director of the Firefighters' Festival Activities Committee, said there were no glaring violations, although some trucks sounded their sirens during the lineup before the parade.
The weekend passed without any major criminal incidents, said Winchester police Sgt. Frank Myrtle. Police maintained a heavy presence in festival areas and on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall after the parades.
Some revelers ended their nights on a sour note: Thirteen people were arrested for public intoxication between Thursday and Sunday, according to police records.
That doesn't include those who were taken to the local detox center. When that facility met its capacity at about midnight Sunday, intoxicated people were taken to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, Myrtle said. He did not know how many people were taken to detox.
A young girl was checked by medics after she was hit by a speaker that fell off a stage during a musical performance before Friday night's fireworks, but she was not hurt, Rosenberger said.