WINCHESTER — Workers from New York-based Powers Great American Midways started setting up carnival rides Tuesday behind the Ward Plaza shopping center at 2260 Valley Ave., a sure sign the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is about to commence.
Marc Janas, spokesman for Powers Great American Midways, said this will be the 25th time his company has brought the carnival to Winchester for the festival.
“We just enjoy the whole atmosphere with ‘The Bloom,’” Janas said. “We feel like we’re a big part of it and we really enjoy seeing all the folks come out in the pink and the green. It’s nice to see a community come together to support a local event, and we enjoy being here. It’s like the official kick off to spring for us.”
This year’s carnival will have some special treats for local thrill-seekers.
“We’ve got some brand-new rides over from Europe,” Janas said. “We’ve got the WipeOut, which is a surf-themed ride mainly for kids where you sit facing out and it oscillates, almost like you’re going over waves. We’ve got the Crazy Cabs — the cars look like the retro New York City taxi cabs with the black and yellow checkers. That’s a pretty cool ride and the kids really like that one. And for the teenagers and adults, we’ve got the brand-new Techno Jump, which has arms that go around frontwards and backwards. The arms bounce and make an air noise as you go around; it has a lot of action to it.”
More than two dozen rides will be available for the enjoyment of carnival attendees, including one that was just shipped to Powers Great American Midways and has never been set up before.
“The Tesla AC is going to premiere here,” Janas said as crews started assembling the new ride’s components. “That’s more for teenagers and adults. It has lightning bolts and all kinds of stuff on it. The arms go up and down and it spins around in a circle. It’s a real, real cool ride that was just delivered.”
The Apple Blossom Carnival debuts Friday from 5 to 11 p.m. Afterward, it will operate from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday before shutting down for a day on Monday. Next week, the carnival will be open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 11 p.m. May 6 and noon to 7 p.m. May 7.
Ride tickets can be purchased individually at the carnival, Janas said, but a $35 pass will allow attendees to enjoy every ride except the Air Raid. For that one, you’ll need the $35 pass plus three tickets, or eight individual tickets.
“And as always, we’ve got all the delicious midway food,” Janas said. “Italian sausage, funnel cakes, Icees, pizza, gyros, ice cream — all the good stuff we all look forward to eating when we go to a special event, especially ‘The Bloom.’”
Friday is the first official day of the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which runs through May 7. In addition to the carnival opening, the United Bank Bloomin’ Wine Fest uncorks in downtown Winchester from 3-10 p.m. Friday and 11-6 p.m. Saturday. The Wine Fest will feature Virginia wines, food and live entertainment, as well as the free, family-friendly Old Town Winchester Artisan & Crafter show both days.
Wine Fest tickets ($10-$25) are available for purchase at thebloom.com.
Brad Veach, executive director of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, said ticket sales are “really strong” and a number of festival events are already sold out including Winchester Radiologists Ladies Pumps & Pearls, Valley Health Business at the Bloom, Massage Envy Bloomers’ Luncheon, Stonebrook Club Tennis Tournament and HoneyWay Apple Blossom Classic.
Limited tickets are available for Highway Motors Stag Luncheon, Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods/Musselman’s, WVU Medicine Pickleball Tournament, Blossom Medical Breakfast with Miss Apple Blossom and First Bank Ladies’ Commonwealth Luncheon.
“For events with limited attendance, if you haven’t already purchased your tickets, you might not want to wait too much longer,” Veach said.
Although there’s rain in this weekend’s forecast, Veach said he’s looking forward to “a fun week .... we’ll blink and it will be gone.”
He said festival-goers can expect “good, solid parades with lots of units and more floats” for the Firefighters’ Parade on May 5 and the Grand Feature Parade on May 6 in downtown Winchester.
New events this year include a pickleball tournament this weekend at Winchester Country Club and Fiesta Latina on Sunday at Millwood Station Banquet Hall. Fiesta Latina is free and will feature music, food, dancing and more. There also will be an Ultimate Dance Party with dueling deejays at 8 p.m. May 4 at the Tolley Dental Zone at the James R. Wilkins Jr. Athletics & Events Center at Shenandoah University and a Teen Night Out at 7 p.m. May 6 at Millwood Station Banquet Hall.
“We’re trying to create something for everyone,” Veach said.
Here’s an event lineup for the festival:
Friday — HoneyWay Apple Blossom Golf Classic (noon); WVU Medicine Pickleball Tournament — Men’s and Women’s Singles (2 p.m.); Stonebrook Club Tennis Tournament (2 p.m.); United Bank Bloomin’ Wine Fest (3 p.m.); Old Town Winchester Artisan and Crafter Show (3 p.m.)
Saturday — WVU Medicine Pickleball Tournament — Men’s and Women’s Doubles (8 a.m.); Stonebrook Club Tennis Tournament (8 a.m.); Blossom Medical Breakfast with Miss Apple Blossom (9 a.m.); United Bank Bloomin’ Wine Fest (11 a.m.); McDonald’s Community Esports Event (11 a.m.); Old Town Winchester Artisan and Crafter Show (11 a.m.); Advanced Implant and Periodontal Specialist Rockin’ Remix (7 p.m.)
Sunday — Stonebrook Club Tennis Tournament (8 a.m.); WVU Medicine Pickleball Tournament — Mixed Doubles (8 a.m.); McDonald’s Esports Tournament (10 a.m.); Capon Valley Bank Cider Tastings and Orchard Tours (11 a.m.); Fiesta Latina (11 a.m.)
Monday — Winchester Radiologists Pumps and Pearls Ladies Party (6 p.m.)
Tuesday — No events other than the Apple Blossom Carnival
May 3 — Valley Health Business at the Bloom (11 a.m.); Navy Federal Credit Union Veterans Dinner Show (5:30 p.m.)
May 4 — Coventry Group Community Management Breakfast Walk (8 a.m.); Apple Pie Baking Contest (9 a.m.); Willows at Meadow Branch Young at Heart Dance (11 a.m.); The Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner (5 p.m.); Carter Myers Automotive Ultimate Dance Party (8 p.m.)
The height of the 10-day Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival will be next weekend, starting May 5 with the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade at 5:30 p.m.
Other events on May 5 include the Fire Truck Rodeo and Antiques Show with Kids Activities (9 a.m.), opening of the Old Town Midway (10 a.m.), Ladies Horticultural Luncheon (10:30 a.m.), Massage Envy Bloomers Luncheon (10:45 a.m.), Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods (11 a.m.), Truist Men’s Commonwealth Luncheon (11 a.m.), First Bank Ladies Commonwealth Luncheon (11 a.m.), Highway Motors International Stag Luncheon (11:45 a.m.), Coronation of Queen Shenandoah presented by Morgan Orthodontics (1:30 p.m.), Shenandoah Valley Orthodontics Kids Bloomin’ Mile (4 p.m.), Procter and Gamble First Responders Recognition Banquet (6 p.m.), Trex Music Fest (8 p.m.), Realty ONE Group Old Towne Queen’s Ball (8 p.m.), Claudio’s Pizzeria 80’s Dance Party (8 p.m.) and American Woodmark Fireworks Display (9 p.m.)
The festival’s Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. May 6 and will wind its way around Old Town Winchester.
Also scheduled for May 6 are the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast (8 a.m.), Valley Health 10K (8:30 a.m.), Old Town Midway (10 a.m.), Valley Pediatric Dentistry Teen Night Out (7 p.m.), Malloy Toyota Country Music Party (8 p.m.) and Square Dance (8 p.m.)
The festival concludes on May 7 with a 2 p.m. concert by singer Michael W. Smith, presented by Clean Water of Virginia.
To learn more about the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and purchase tickets to select events, visit thebloom.com.
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