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Female festival attendees let loose at the Bloomers' Luncheon

Robbie Shiley, a member of Souled Out, jams his guitar during the Walmart Bloomers's Luncheon. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Bev Williams, a member of the Souled Out band, raises the energy at the Walmart Bloomers' Luncheon on Friday inside the Sprint Tent. (Buy photo)

Women pack inside the Sprint Tent during the Walmart Bloomers' Luncheon on Friday. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Catherine Klein, left, of Arlington, Anna Small center, of Blacksburg, and Lindsey Frye, right, of Winchester, all 23, dance inside the Sprint Tent during the Walmart Bloomers' Luncheon on Friday. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Katie Demeria

WINCHESTER -- Jennifer Oliver of Boyce described the Bloomers' Luncheon as a beautiful "sea of color." A sea of pink and green, to be exact.

Ladies poured into the Sprint Apple Blossom Tent set up on the Winchester Medical Center campus, all dressed in their best pink and green outfits -- sometimes homemade.

Donna Vansickler of Winchester and Cathy Taylor of Augusta, West Virginia, made festive hats with their large family group.

Vansickler and Taylor are cousins, and the female members of their family always make a point of attending the luncheon.

"We've come every year, since forever," Taylor said.

For others, like Oliver, this year was their first time attending the event. Oliver went with a group of her best friends -- all their children go to elementary school together.

"Oh my gosh, we're having the best time," Oliver said. "The mommy's are together having fun while the daddys are at home."

Julie Hayes and Cookie Sullivan, both of Winchester, said they were having "a great time." They have been friends for years, they said, and come with a big group for the luncheon, which they referred to as a great party.

"We're anxious to get out on the dance floor," Sullivan said as she and Hayes waited in line for refreshments. "We get to cut loose when we come here."

Souled Out, a local band, entertained the women with popular songs many in the crowd were familiar with, covering artists like Macklemore and DJ Kool.

"The band, Souled Out, is fantastic," Vansickler said. "The dancing is my favorite part."

Though the event was meant for women, the ladies in attendance were not entirely rid of male companions.

Men from the Handyman Connection were walking around the tables, dressed as though they were ready to repair a roof, handing out surveys for ladies to fill out in order to enter a chance to win a free fire pit.

Evin Hoffman said this is his third year at the luncheon.

"It's a lot of fun, getting to go around and talk to everyone," Hoffman said.

Students from James Wood High School in Winchester were also there passing out pink and green necklaces.

Aiden Houser, 14, and Colin Watts, 15, said they were having a good time and were making friends with those in attendance.

"The band is great," Houser said.

Employees from Goodwill Industries were there working as well, keeping the place tidy, according to France Mason, assistant program manager.

"We help people with disabilities find work," Mason said. "So this is a good opportunity for us."

Heather Jones and Deanna Wadsworth, both of Winchester, had 15 people in their group. Wadsworth said every year more and more people come with them.

Wadsworth said this is her favorite time of year.

"I just love seeing everyone," she said. "It feels as though you only see people at Apple Blossom."

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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