Wayne Brady to be grand marshal

Wayne Brady

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced Monday that entertainment personality Wayne Brady will serve as grand marshal for this year’s Grand Feature Parade.

Brady is a familiar face and voice from shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” He’s won three Daytime Emmy Awards for “The Wayne Brady Show” and “Let’s Make a Deal” and one Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Executive Director John Rosenberger said the festival has seen plenty of positive reactions since making the announcement at a press conference Monday morning and then online.

Rosenberger said that festival officials had considered a number of names for grand marshal this year, but many were busy. A festival contact in Hollywood gave notice that Brady would be available for the festival.

“In this case, this was great … it just kind of came to us,” he said. “When the offer came, we didn’t hesitate.”

White House Foods will again sponsor the grand marshal this year, and Rosenberger said owners David and Paige Gum were pleased to have a hand in selecting Brady.

“They like somebody entertaining but they also like someone who’s a good person, who can qualify as a bit of a role model,” he said.

For the past few years, Rosenberger said the festival has pursued more active and contemporary stars for the role. Brady’s ongoing involvement in the worlds of stage, screen and music fits right into that trend.

“You could go home tonight and turn on the TV and probably find him somewhere on there,” Rosenberger said. “It really seems to turn the crowd on, create that excitement.”

Last year, Rosenberger said Kevin Jonas created plenty of buzz among the younger generation as grand marshal. By contrast, he said Brady is a more widely recognized personality, with credits from children’s shows to Broadway to late night TV.

“From what we can see from the reaction – and it’s amazing – he seems to be appealing to the 25 to 55 crowds in particular … it’s a little broader,” he said.

Rosenberger said that Brady will be at some private functions on April 30, and his only appearance to the public will be as part of the Grand Feature Parade that day. He said the parade lineup will be finalized later this week.

The festival’s ticket outlet will open on April 4. Learn more about the 89th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and keep track of updates at http://thebloom.com/.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com