Bella Astin to reign as Queen Shenandoah XCVI
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President Sharen Gromling is pleased to announce that Isabella Louise Astin has accepted the role of Queen Designate XCVI for the 2023 Festival. Known to family and friends as “Bella, the third daughter of Sean and Christine Astin who resides with her family in California will be returning to Winchester.
This year’s theme: LIVE. LOVE. BLOOM reflects the love of the Bloom community as it nears 100 years of celebrating. How very appropriate it is that the Festival continues to make connections with those the community learned to love over the years and celebrities who loved the Festival back. As the area gets ready to welcome Bella Astin as its new queen, take a look back at the “Astin years.”
In 2004 Sean Astin was the Festival’s Grand Marshal. It was a coup for the Festival as Astin had just finished the three Lord of the Rings films and was known, additionally, for his roles in Goonies and Rudy. As a family man whose daughter, Bella, was not born until July of the following year, he and the Festival began a relationship. The relationship has lasted nearly 20 years. Ten years later, 2014, the Astins returned to Winchester for Alexandra Louise Astin, Ali, to become Queen. Her sister, Elizabeth, followed four years later as Queen in 2018.
This year as Isabella Louise Astin will become the third Astin daughter to be Queen, her father, Sean, winner of multiple acting awards, her mother, Christine, who is an Academy Award nominated producer, and her two sisters will watch as Bella takes the stage on May 5 to be crowned.
Bella is a senior at Oaks Christian High School. Her interests include, as well as her usual studies, acting, photography, and film. She is a FemStem student which raises women’s voices in science, technology, engineering and math. She volunteers at the local animal shelter and often photographs the puppies looking for their “forever homes.”
Bella is an activist for animal rights and for the environment. Bella interned with the Felidae Conservation Fund to help wildcats in the California landscape. Her inspirations are Jane Goodall and Steve Irwin and Bella hopes to produce documentaries of animals in need around the world. Bella envisions herself behind the camera focused on animals.
Queen-designate Bella will attend the Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner held in her honor at 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 4. She will appear at various Festival events on Friday, May 5, prior to her crowning at the all-new production of the traditional majestic Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, showcasing the talent of the youth in her court. She will ride in the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade on Friday and then dance evening away at the Realty ONE Group Old Towne Queen’s Ball, presented by Insurance Center of Winchester held in her honor. Queen Bella will reign over the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade on Saturday as she sits on her throne atop the Queen’s float accompanied by her maids of honor, little maids and pages.
The Astins are eager to return to Winchester to Live. Love. Bloom once more.
For the full Festival schedule, go to www.thebloom.com for all the events, times, tickets, and other festival information.
SAR honors Vietnam Era veterans in Middletown
On March 25, 2023, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution with Middletown, cosponsored a commemoration to National Vietnam Veterans Day. This day has been set aside to honor those veterans who served during the Vietnam Era and those who did not return. On March 29, 2012 President Barack Obama proclaimed this day as Vietnam War Veterans Day. On March 29th local veterans asked the community to fly American flags to commemorate and honor the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam veterans, alive or fallen. March 29 was chose because it was on this day in 1973 the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) was disbanded and U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. At President Obama’s proclamation, he called for appropriate programs and ceremonies to commemorate the war. From The American Presidency Project, “Proclamation 8829 — Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War (2019)”: “As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.
“As a grateful Nation, we honor more than 58,000 patriots—their names etched in black granite—who sacrificed all they had and all they would ever know. We draw inspiration from the heroes who suffered unspeakably as prisoners of war, yet who returned home with their heads held high. We pledge to keep faith with those who were wounded and still carry the scars of war, seen and unseen. With more than 1,600 of our service members still among the missing, we pledge as a Nation to do everything in our power to bring these patriots home.”
On December 26, 2016, the Vietnam Veterans Day Coalition of States Council presented a letter to President Elect Donald Trump and Congressional leadership requesting March 29th be established as Vietnam War Veterans Day. President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 on March 28, 2017. This officially recognized March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
The ceremony was emcee’d by Dale Corey and Marc Robinson of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter with greetings and wreaths provided by Mayor Charles Harbaugh of Middletown and Ernie Coggins, President of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution. Marshall DeHaven, compatriot of the SAR and Korean War Veteran led the Pledge of Allegiance. Dale Corey presented a tribute to veterans of the Vietnam Era with the POW/MIA flag posted by Vietnam Veteran Jerry Headley.
Additional wreaths honoring the veterans of the era were presented by Thomas “Chip” Daniel (Colonel James Wood II Chapter), Dave Cook (Fairfax Resolves), Charles Jameson (Culpeper Minutemen), Bryan Buck (Fort Harrison), Paul Parish (General Daniel Morgan), Ken Bonner (Sgt Maj John Champe), Doug Hall (Order of Founders and Patriots of America), Cat Schwetke (Fauquier Courthouse DAR), Anita Bonner (Fair Lanes DAR), Ray Steele (Middletown) and the American Red Cross represented by Leslie Caliva, Edie McGoth and Nancy Braswell.
A musket salute was fired by the Virginia State Color Guard commanded by Brett Osborn. Color guard members included Ken Bonner, Bryan Buck, Sean Carrigan, Paul Christensen, Dave Cook, Dale Corey, Chip Daniel, Kelly Ford, Doug Hall, Phil Hunter, Erick Moore, Brett Osborn, Paul Parish, Will Reynolds, Marc Robinson, Bill Schwetke and Richard Tyler.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® welcomes Victoria Chuah, Miss Virginia 2022 to festival
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Sharen Gromling, is pleased to welcome Ashburn, Virginia native and reigning 2022 Miss Virginia, Victoria Chuah, to the Festival this spring. She is no stranger to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, as she was Miss Apple Blossom 2019.
Victoria obtained her Bachelor and Master Degrees of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh in May 2022, graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors in four years. She was featured on the Morgan Stanley billboard in Times Square and is one of their incoming software engineers.
Victoria was selected Miss Virginia 2022 in Roanoke, VA, on June 25, 2022, and was the recipient of $22,500 in scholarships. She was also awarded the overall Social Impact Award with her initiative 4A: Awareness & Advocacy for Adults with Autism, inspired by her 19-year-old brother Luke, who lives with autism. As Miss Virginia, she is using her voice to advocate the need for Home Life Community – community developments for adults on the autism spectrum, providing services and long-term support plans for them to thrive.
Victoria was awarded a $10,000 “Women in Stem” scholarship at Miss America in December.
She also serves as the ABC Spokesperson for promoting healthy choices and substance abuse prevention to students in Virginia’s elementary schools as part of Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s Miss Virginia School Tour program.
As part of her year of service, she makes personal appearances to promote local businesses and non-profits. She is the keynote speaker at various events across the Commonwealth, participating in fundraising events and conferences. Her advocacy within these diverse arenas offers schools the opportunity to target the programs that best meet the needs of their students.
Victoria will visit many festival events when returning to our springtime homecoming. Among those events are the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade on May 5. She will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade at 1:30 p.m. on May 6.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame 2023 Inductees named
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is pleased to announce the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, Debby Sanders and James W. “Jim” Casey. Debby and the Casey family will be honored for their contribution to sports in the region at 8:00 a.m. during the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday morning, May 6, 2023, in the Tolley Dental Zone at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center, 1188 Ralph Shockey Drive. General admission tickets are $45 and VIP tickets are $125. Both are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Debby retired from Frederick County Public Schools after 30 years as a Health and PE teacher, Department Chair, and Head Girls’ Basketball Coach.
She coached Millbrook High School girls’ basketball team from 2004-2013 with 84 consecutive wins. The team titles include the following: State Champions 2010, 2011, 2012; Regional Champions 2010, 2011, 2012; District Champions 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Regional Runner-Up 2009; and State Semi-Finalists 2009.
She was named State Coach of the Year from 2010 through 2012; Regional Coach of the Year from 2009 to 2012; and District Coach of the Year in 1997 and from 2009 through 2013.
After coaching, Debby served as an assistant athletic director for one year and volunteered at numerous sporting events. She was inducted into the Millbrook Athletic Hall of Fame and started the Millbrook “Go Pink” Millbrook vs. Cancer annual events that help to raise money to support individuals and families in the community impacted by cancer.
James W. “Jim” Casey
A native of Boyce and 32-year employee of James Wood High School, James “Jim” William Casey died at the age of 92 on Jan. 8, 2023. He is remembered and missed by scores of people in the area as he is inducted into the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame.
Casey is survived by two of his three children – James M. and his daughter Ann. His son, John Casey, noted blacksmith and manager of the family farm, died at age 61 this past March. Coach Casey is also survived by his brother Jerry. Jim’s wife Eleanor MacDonald died in 2005. She, with Jim, founded and operated one of West Virginia’s most successful thoroughbred and racing operations. The operation was first named for Eleanor, and then after her death, for their horse farm Taylor Mountain.
Jim graduated from Boyce Agricultural High School and the College of William and Mary where he ran track, played baseball, and was the varsity football manager. After two years in the military, Casey returned to begin his career at James Wood High School, where he was a teacher, coach, and athletic director.
Retired athletic director at Handley High School, Jimmy Omps, said of Casey, “I remember watching Casey run the cinder track at Handley, the 100-yard dash in close to 10 seconds. He was very intelligent; he knew the rules.”
Don Shirley, a retired principal at James Wood, agreed that his intelligence was a comfort to him and a sounding board. “He was good listener…I missed that greatly when he retired. He was one of the most loyal persons I can think of. He remembered everything, the kids, who did what in which game. Unbelievable!”
Former JWHS student Danny Hoopes recalled that Casey was a great strategy coach; he was not vocal, but he was a confident man. Hoopes, who Coach Casey nicknamed Hoops, Jr. greeted him that way for years. Why Hoops, Jr? Hoops was told to figure it out himself. Seems Hoops was the 1945 Kentucky Derby winner.
Casey’s son, a veterinarian like his grandfather, said, “He never really got upset about anything. He could take things in stride.”
The 1954-55 school year marked the beginning of Casey’s run of success as head coach in three sports. In baseball, he never had a losing record; his football winning record included a 10-0 season in 1964, but he was at his best with basketball. After James Wood High School hired Casey as head coach, he had a record of 132-29, winning eight District titles.
Casey’s post-educational career as horse owner and trainer featured more than 1,200 wins, including a record 35 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic victories as a trainer. Casey moved from Winchester to Charles Town, W.Va. in 2002 after acquiring 146 acres in Jefferson County.
Like his grandfather, he was generous. There is the Dr. Joseph M. Casey scholarship at Clarke County High given to a student pursuing a degree in science or veterinarian medicine. The generosity and encouragement Casey and his wife Eleanor left to future generations are scholarships named the JAMES & ELEANOR CASEY ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS which are awarded yearly at James Wood High School, Millbrook High School, Sherando High School, Clarke County High School, Washington High, and Jefferson High Schools. The scholarships are used by an athlete to further their education and playing a college sport is not a requirement.
As late as 2022 he won 24 races and was at the track every morning. On the morning of January 6, 2023 Casey fell at the track and suffered a broken leg. He won the race while in surgery and seemed to be on the mend when he died two days later. His wife Eleanor had died in similar circumstances, A loose horse caused her to fall and break her hip at age 74 in 2005.
His son, James M. Casey, told the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred journal, “He enjoyed it–the people, the horses, the races. He went to the track every day until the very end.” Casey’s racing resume records over 1,200 wins, his horse, No Love for Juba, a homebred horse, won the West Virginia Futurity on Jan. 8, the day of his death. Late in the Game, came in second.
Coach Casey’s son and daughter will accept their father’s induction into the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame.
Join us at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on Shenandoah University Campus on Saturday morning, May 6, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Washington Redskins two-time Super Bowl Champion & James Madison University football great, Gary Clark to be Festival Sports Guest
Two-time Super Bowl Champion and Washington Redskins legend, Gary Clark, has been announced as a Special Sports Guest by Festival President, Sharen Gromling. In 1985, Clark was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins and went on to playing 11 seasons in the NFL.
Clark is considered one of the toughest players in Redskins history, a tenacious blocker and consummate professional. He was the first wide receiver in NFL history to catch at least 50 passes in his rookie season. Clark was one of the top wide receivers in the National Football League at the time of his retirement, ranking 8th in receptions and 7th in receiving yards. Clark was a two-time Super Bowl Champion, two-time Redskins MVP, three-time All Pro, four-time Pro Bowler, and an eight-time All-Madden Team member. Clark’s “competitive fire, tenacity, and ability to make clutch, game-changing plays,” made him a favorite of legendary commentator, John Madden.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Clark, Ricky Sanders and Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Art Monk were nicknamed “The Posse” for being one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. Clark’s NFL career totaled 699 receptions and 10,856 yards. He scored 65 touchdowns; 58 of those came with Washington. Gary Clark is recognized as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins list and was honored as an NFL Hall of Fame Nominee. Gary was inducted into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2007 into the Washington Redskins Ring of Honor.
Gary attended James Madison University (JMU) and was inducted into the JMU Hall of Fame in 1994. As a Duke, Clark held every significant JMU receiving record at the end of his college career. Clark was named Virginia Offensive Player in 1982 and Honorable All American in 1982 and 1983. He was the first player in JMU Football history to win a Super Bowl Championship and the first ever to have his #80 jersey retired by the University.
Clark’s outstanding college career stood out when the United State Football League (USFL) was formed in 1984. Clark was the first ever draft pick for the Jacksonville Bulls and the first JMU player to be drafted as a first round pick by a professional team. His impact with the Bulls soon came to the attention of Washington Redskins.
Gary C. Clark is the Founder of Gary Clark Incorporated and Co-Founder of T&G Real Estate Advisors and The MetaVerse Sports Group. A serial entrepreneur, Gary considers his five children, Gari, Aiden, Nathaniel, Gabriella and Gary 2.0, his greatest joy.
Clark, a native Virginian from Radford, Pulaski County High School grad, JMU Football standout, and Washington Redskins legend will attend many festival events including the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah presented by Morgan Orthodontics and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. Gary will speak at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday morning, May 6 at the Tolley Dental Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on the campus of Shenandoah University Campus and then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of March 30th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Reserved seating in all auditoriums.
Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Thursday, March 30:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $10
- Child (under 12): $7
- Military: $8
- Student (college): $8
- Senior: $8
- Matinees, All Seating: $7
- 3D: add $3
- “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3″
- “Super Mario Bros.”
- “Fast X”
- “The Little Mermaid”
SAR presents Patrick Henry to senior living facilities
On March 24, 2023, the Colonel James Wood II and Culpeper Minutemen Chapters of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution conducted presentations on Patrick Henry to the residents of senior living facilities in Warren County.
Patrick Henry was a driving force in the lead up to the American Revolutionary War. He was an attorney, planter, soldier, politician and orator who was primarily home schooled. He was born in 1736 at Studley, in Hanover County. Growing up, young Henry engaged in the typical recreations of the times. He played the flute and violin and was particularly fond of hunting. When he was 15, he began working for a local merchant and a year later opened store with his brother William, which was an unsuccessful endeavor.
In 1754, Henry married Sarah Shelton, whose dowry included Pine Slash, a 600 acre farm. In 1757, fire destroyed the house, ending his attempt at farming. He returned to storekeeping before working for his father-in-law at Hanover Tavern. This was located across the road from the county courthouse. He was influenced by the lawyers who came to the tavern and became a self taught lawyer by the time he was 24.
Henry established a thriving practice in the courts of Hanover and adjacent counties and came to prominence in 1763 while arguing the “Parsons’ Cause”. This was a dispute about colonial rights in the payment to clergy. At this time, Virginia had a tobacco based economy and clergymen were to receive tobacco in payment for their services. After an extended drought, the price for tobacco increased tremendously, greatly inflating the salaries of the clergy. The House of Burgesses responded by passing legislation allowing debts in tobacco to be paid in currency at a rate of two pennies per pound. King George III vetoed the law which created an uproad. A suit was brought against the community with Patrick Henry advocating in favor of colonial rights.
In 1765, Henry was elected to the House of Burgesses from Louisa County. That same year, parliament passed The Stamp Act, requiring colonists to pay a tax on every piece of paper they used. He responded with a series of resolutions that was the basis of America’s stance against taxation without representation. He was asserting the colonists rights as Englishmen. His resolutions were published throughout the colonies and established his reputation as an uncompromising opponent of imperial policy. In 1773, Virginia established Committees of Correspondence to coordinate opposition to the British Parliament. He attended the Continental Congress in September 1774, receiving several important committee assignments.
On March 23, 1775, Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech to the second Virginia Convention at St John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia. He then recruited a regiment of colonial militia from Hanover County that was incorporated into the Continental Army. Henry left the military and was elected to the 1776 Virginia convention. He became a strong supporter for independence and assisted in drafting the resolution calling upon Congress to declare the colonies “free and independent”. He was elected the first Governor of Virginia and eventually served five terms before returning to his law practice and his family.
Patrick Henry had two wives and 17 children. He had amassed almost 3,000 acres of land, eventually moving to “Red Hill” in Charlotte County. He declined to run for President and opportunities to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State and Ambassador to France. He died on June 6, 1799, from stomach cancer and is buried in the family plot at Red Hill. A gifted orator, successful lawyer and politician, he will forever be remembered for his most famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death” which helped convince Virginians to prepare for war against Great Britain.
Presentations were given by Dale Corey, Chip Daniel and Bill Schwetke at Commonwealth Senior Living and Dale Corey, Chip Daniel, Bill Schwetke and Richard Tyler at Hidden Springs Senior Living Facilities with the singing of “God Bless America” at the conclusion of the commemorations.
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