Costume parade to highlight Stephens City Trunk-or-Treat event
While the local Methodist church is hosting the outdoor Trunk-or-Treat Saturday afternoon, October 30, organizer Jacquetta Owen says, “this is going to be a Main Street event for the entire community. Everyone is invited and all residing within the town limits can easily bring their whole family and actually walk to the destination.” It appears to be a true community event as the Costume Parade at 3 PM along the sidewalks on Main, Filbert and Germain Streets will have oversight provided by Stephens City police cruiser escort. The parade, with spectators lining the street, provides kids the opportunity to play act what it is like to transform into someone or something else for the afternoon. Stephens City fire and rescue plans to have an engine on site which includes customized equipment used during firefighting operations and members to assist with the static display. Kids can meet firefighters and learn about their role in society and better understand fire safety basics. Local artist, Balloon Man, Michael Bully, will be creating balloon animals for the kids. Children are always fascinated by the magic from the timeless art of balloon twisting and balloon animals.
- Stephens City United Methodist Church
- Free Halloween Trunk or Treat outdoor event
- 5291 Main Street (back parking lot)
- Saturday, October 30th, from 1 PM – 3:30 PM – Costume Parade 3 PM
- Provide kids a fun, supervised, safe alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating.
“Trunk-or-Treat is a free, fun, safe holiday that benefits both the children who relish participation and the adults who help them find healthy, constructive ways to celebrate,” Owen explained. “Creating a controlled environment with less walking and more activity in a concentrated area which provides adequate supervision for youth is essential. Trunk-or-Treat is similar to the practice of trick-or-treating. Instead of walking from door to door in a neighborhood, children will trek from car to car, with volunteers handing out candy from their van or sports utility vehicle trunk,” Owen said. The event also provides access to Halloween festivities for families who do not live in a typical residential neighborhood.
Other activities include tossing a Velcro ball to stick to a pumpkin, carrying an eyeball in a spoon across the great church lawn, lobbing a beanbag into hula hoops and of course, the now mandatory, Corn Hole. Treats will be distributed from fifteen decorated vehicles strategically parked in the lot adjacent to the church building one hour before the events begins.
“We are working hard to reach out to our Stephens City community as folks are gradually coming back to attend church in person again,” said Missions Chair Cathy Barley. “We are eager to make Halloween a calm and unique balance of fantasy and realism, keeping things informal yet exciting for the little ones. Our town desperately needs a party with costumes, candy and gaiety that is outdoors and safe. We strive to be a Main Street church that significantly touches the lives of residents in our immediate vicinity,” Barley added. “It’s a picture of what our neighborhoods could be like if we intentionally neighbor-ed well,” she said.
Visitors should be sure to register for the hundred dollar and fifty dollar gift cards while checking-in for photographs or other activities.
Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVII Champion and Millbrook High School standout athlete, Nazeeh Johnson named Co-Sports Marshal
His hometown community has called the play, and Nazeeh Johnson, local gridiron hero and 2023 Super Bowl Champion with the Kansas City Chiefs, has been named Co-Sports Marshal by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Nazeeh Johnson triumphed as a 2023 Super Bowl Champion with the Kansas City Chiefs this past February. He achieved a goal of his youth! When he was five years old, after playing a few games of little league football, he went to his parents saying, “Dad, Mom! I’m going to play in the NFL!” His parents told him, as any parent would do, “Okay, son, just know that you can definitely do it, but it won’t be easy.” Since that moment, Nazeeh has worked his way to the top. Johnson has said, “I believe in living in the now and taking advantage of all my opportunities.” His parents are Kisha and Brian Brown of Winchester.
The rookie safety entered his first season with the Chiefs in 2022, being drafted in the 7th round (Pick #259). Johnson was waived on August 30, and the next day he was signed to the practice squad. On September 28, his name became part of the active roster. His running speed is described as explosive or like a rocket. In his first season, Johnson led the Chiefs in Special Teams tackles and played a crucial part in the longest punt return in NFL Super Bowl history, as the Chiefs went on to win Super Bowl LVII.
Johnson’s football career began with youth tackle football, participating in leagues across Northern Virginia and locally in the Shenandoah Valley including Fairfax, Prince William, and Clarke County. The family ultimately made the Frederick County community their home.
While playing youth football in Clarke County, Johnson was called “Z Bolt”, which eventually became “Bolt” or “Z”. While at James Wood Middle School and Millbrook High School, he ran track to develop more speed and played basketball to enhance his agility. Millbrook High School Pioneers was the next step to reaching his ultimate goal. Johnson graduated from Millbrook High School in 2016.
Johnson was unranked coming out of high school but enrolled as a “preferred walked-on” with the Marshall Thundering Herd. In 2018 he earned his scholarship with Marshall. He started four seasons in 44 of 45 games. His had 302 tackles, six tackles with loss, one sack, seven interceptions, a defensive touchdown, and defended 19 passes. His Herd Pro Day was incredibly productive and meaningful, running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and jumping an impressive 42.5 inches. Johnson was named All-Conference USA for three seasons, and he received the Unsung Hero Award in his final year. This honor is awarded to Herd players who make significant contributions to team success and are least recognized.
Nazeeh Johnson is described as humble and quiet. He prefers spending time with his family and loved ones. Family, football, video games, and community: these are what Nazeeh hold near and dear to his heart. And he is near to the hearts of those in his community. Winchester and fans across the region were focused on #13 and cheered him all the way to his final play on that Super Bowl Sunday 2023.
Nazeeh and his wife, Kensley, will be attending festival events on Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. He will be a featured speaker on Saturday, May 6 at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Convention Center on Shenandoah University Campus. They will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Johnson’s appearance is sponsored by Omps Funeral Home and Cremation Center.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Pro football Hall of Fame running back, Eric Dickerson named Co-Sports Marshal
Eric Dickerson, Pro football Hall of Fame and record-breaking running back has been named Co-Sports Marshal by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O.J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson retired from the NFL as the 2nd leading rusher of all-time and in 1999 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dickerson was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He is widely considered as one of the greatest running backs of all time.
Russ Potts, a Winchester sports enthusiast, while athletic director at SMU from 1978-1982, developed a friendship with Dickerson (SMU 1979-1982) that lasted through the years. Dickerson and Craig James, currently New England Patriots ESPN analyst, were running backs. SMU went 11-0 in the 1982 season. The duo of Dickerson and James became known as “The Pony Express”, coined by Potts, referencing the SMU mascot, the Mustangs. Dickerson was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2021 for SMU.
Marcus Allen shared his positive 2015 Apple Blossom experience as Sport Marshal with Dickerson. Dickerson and his wife, Penny Sutton, graciously in turn, accepted the Festival invitation and will attend festival events on Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. He will be a featured speaker on Saturday, May 6, at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. They will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Dickerson’s appearance is sponsored by Omps Funeral Home and Cremation Center.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of March 23rd
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 23:
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″
- “Dungeons And Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”
- “Super Mario Bros.”
- “Fast X”
- “The Little Mermaid”
Stephens City UMC Easter Egg Hunt likely to draw 2,000 at Newtown Commons
There will be a free community Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 1 on the Newton Commons at 5165 Main Street in Stephens City from 12:30 to 3 PM. The Egg Hunt is being held by Stephens City UMC and will be accompanied by a United Women of Faith (UWF) Flower and Bake Sale from 11 to 3 PM. It is estimated about 1,000 folks attended the event in 2022, so the anticipation is an even larger event this year.
Pastor Bertina Westley invites the entire community to visit the Easter Egg Hunt on the Commons. “The Commons is located right in the middle of town,” said Pastor Westley. The location is perfect as it allows many people in the Stephens City area to conveniently walk with their families to the event and enjoy the festivities. Everyone in the community is welcome.
All participants, if they have not already preregistered, are requested to stop by one of the two registration tables. One registration table, located along Main Street, can be found by an inflatable Easter Bunny. The other registration table is under the picnic shelter pavilion next to another inflatable bunny. Please sign in to hunt for 4,000 plastic eggs filled with candy and prizes and grab an event map and church activity schedule. Parents are encouraged to bring their own bag or basket for their children to collect eggs.
Cathy Barley is the Missions Chair at Stephens City UMC. “As Chair, I am tasked with organizing our 2nd annual community Easter Egg Hunt. After last year’s stunning success, our church congregation has been actively aspiring to continue outreach to our Stephens City “neighbors” and what better way than to hold this event again on the Newtown Commons, right off Main Street. It takes several months of preparation, and the assistance of many, many church, civic, and student volunteers, but the results are well worth the effort. We are estimating about 1,000 to 2,000 adults and children will attend, weather permitting,” Barley said.
Stephens City UMC purchased 2,500 candy and prize filled plastic eggs from Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs in Springfield Missouri. The company provides meaningful employment to people with disabilities.
A group of Sherando High School Students are volunteering to help stuff 1,500 plastic eggs at Stephens City UMC. The church’s Caring Outreach ministry has also volunteered their time to assist with stuffing the Easter eggs.
Stephens City Mayor Mike Diaz will kick off each of the egg hunts beginning at 1 PM. The egg hunts are divided into four different age groups (from toddlers to age 12) at four different locations. Ages 0–3 egg hunt starts at 1 PM; ages 4–6 at 1:30 PM; ages 7–9 at 2 PM; and ages 10–12 at 2:30 PM. To accommodate more children, the roped-off egg hunting areas will be double the size from last year. There will be plenty of eggs stuffed with candy and surprises to be found by each child in attendance.
An Egg Freeze Hunt will challenge the 7 to 9-year-old children. When the music is playing, they can look for the eggs but as soon as the music stops, they must freeze! Mayor Diaz said that last year, this was his most favorite egg hunt.
For the oldest group of 10 to 12-year-old children, there will be a unique 15’ x 20’ 3-Dimensional “challenge maze,” constructed with steel fence posts, PVC tubing, rope, colorful string, hula hoops and pool noodles. Two bunny flags will fly on the 10’ high center posts. Last year the older kids began to gather around the maze an hour prior to the event to strategize in advance, determining how they can quickly move about the maze to accumulate the most eggs.
The eggs are beautifully colored and enthusiastic children will enter the sport of hunting for them with a zest which none but children understand. Two eggs for each age group will contain a gold disk — the children who are lucky enough to find them will each receive a totally full Easter basket of assorted goodies as a bonus prize. Quite a large group of parents and grandparents will crowd the roped-off areas and the bright faces and merry laughter of the children should make for an enjoyable occasion.
The always popular and crowded face painting sites will be in the picnic shelter area of the Commons. We will have 3 to 4 face painting stations operating simultaneously. Sherando High School is again providing student volunteers who will support this activity as well as running the festival games to include Corn Hole, Bowling, Potato Sack Relay, Ring Toss, Bean Bag Toss, and Egg/Spoon Relay.
There will be a “take your own” Easter Bunny photo opportunity for all children from 1 to 3 PM on the Newtown Commons outdoor stage. Parents always look forward to watching their children interact with the Bunny at Easter.
Self-taught artist Michael Bulley (Balloon Man) will skillfully use his balloon artistry to create hundreds of free balloon animals for the kids. Children are always fascinated by the magic that comes from the timeless art of balloon twisting and balloon animals. “I feel I am in the right place doing what I should be doing at this time in my life,” Bulley said. Mr. Bulley is a member of the Disabled American Veterans Department of Virginia, Chapter 9, in Winchester.
Lolo the Clown from Winchester, will be roaming the Commons amusing children with her antics in between egg hunts and participating in the festival games. Lolo is colorful, kind, silly, and entertaining and will make your children laugh.
Stephens City Volunteer Fire and Rescue (SCVFR) will provide a Fire Truck on site. Children will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the much beloved Sparky the Fire Dog. The fire truck will blare its siren at precisely 1 PM to announce the start of the egg hunting activities. SCVFR provides outreach to the community, offering fire prevention awareness, educational material, and equipment displays to day care, elementary and middle schools, and church and civic groups.
Tree of Crafts, (located at 5187 Main Street, Stephens City and opened last May), will be offering free craft projects during the egg hunt. Owner Amber Holmes will have a crafts tent and room for ten children to participate in custom made projects to include Easter salt dough ornaments. “Kids can paint an egg, bunny, or Easter basket with your favorite colors, let dry and take home with you that day! Come out and visit our exclusive workshop. Custom apparel, cups, tumblers, and décor. Learn how to make art from scratch,” said Holmes.
Winchester native Chris Huntt Jr. will be playing music at the Commons pavilion from 1 – 3 PM. Chris is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who performs western country, Americana, and bluegrass! You can find him on Facebook and YouTube at Chris Huntt Jr. Music.
Stephens City UMC’s United Women of Faith will sell a variety of market flower packs (Easter flowers, lilies, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths). “Proceeds from the flower and ‘grab and go’ bake sale will support mission projects,” UWF president Michele Hruska said. According to Hruska, UWF’s mission pledge supports programs and staff such as deaconesses, and missionaries who serve the United Methodist Church globally and nationally. “Stephens City UWF also supports local missions such as Congregational Community Action Project (CCAP) which provides a food pantry, clothing house, and financial assistance to ALICE families, and Bright Futures, a non-profit organization through Frederick County Public Schools that helps connect student needs with available resources in the community,” Hruska said.
The Town of Stephens City has graciously placed our event flyers in their newsletter mailings and made the flyer available to town residents at their office on Locust Street.
Stephens City police officers will be on hand to manage traffic control around the Commons and provide secure oversight. Say hello to them – they love visiting with and getting to know our local community!
A requested addition to the egg hunt for this year is there will be three food vendors on site at the Commons: Bam Bam’s Barbeque, Anthony’s Pizza of Stephens City, and Mattie’s Premium Soft Serve Frozen Custard! Some food vendors will be cash only, so please come prepared.
For more information about Stephens City UMC’s free community Easter Egg Hunt, or to pre-register for the event, please visit www.stephenscityumc.org.
Wildlife Look-and-Learns on the Wildlife Walk
Let’s Learn about Wildlife! From now until June, Blue Ridge Wildlife Center will be hosting Wildlife Look-and-Learn events in the classroom and the Wildlife Walk every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
These run from 11:30am to 2pm and provide visitors the chance to visit our wildlife walk and classroom areas, where our 20 animal ambassadors are on display.
Each day features a special topic or activity, and highlights one or more of our ambassador animals. You do not need to stay the entire time, nor do you need to come at exactly 11:30 – these events are continuous and you can come anytime between 11:30am and 2pm.
In the rare cases when there are specific activities that have a required start time, it will be noted on the calendar on our website.
Tickets are only $5 – reserve your spot today!
Be there for…
- Ambassador highlight!
- educational program!
- crafts and activities!
Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays through June 6th!
Where: 106 Island Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620
Women’s Self-Defense Seminar: Save the date for this free event!
Phoenix Project will be hosting a Women’s Self-Defense Seminar on April 29, 2023, from 9am to 12pm. This free seminar will begin with a 45-minute power point presentation covering situational awareness. Participants will then move into hands-on techniques, including punches, kicks and strikes, in addition to defenses and escapes. At the end of the class, an instructor posing as “bad guy” in a padded suit will give the participants a chance to practice their new skills.
Each attendee will be required to sign a waiver. Females sixteen years and older are welcome to attend – minors must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and bring hydration, such as water or Gatorade. Class will be capped at 22 participants.
The seminar is being held at the Front Royal Police Department, located at 900 Monroe Ave, and will be taught by Sgt. Winner.
For more information or to register, contact Phoenix Project at 540-635-2302 no later than Friday, April 21st.
Wind: 7mph SW
UV index: 0