Putting A Bow On The Bloom

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Greetings from The Booth!

Just some guy stuff today, as we recap the 97th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which is also the 100th anniversary of “The Bloom.” (There was no Festival during the World War II years). The theme of the Apple Blossom Festival this year was “Locally Grown, Globally Shared,” which means that The Bloom is something that is uniquely ours in the Winchester/Shenandoah Valley area, but we open our hearts to the world every late April/early May. Over the years, it’s become a 2-week “pink & green” party. Like everyone who partakes, I have my own routine and traditions, and I’d like to share the past week with you.

My SABF began the week before last, with the Sponsor’s Reception, which is a gathering of those who represent businesses and organizations that embrace The Bloom. But it feels more like a family reunion. It’s the one time a year when I see some people I don’t see any other time of the year. It’s held at the beautiful George Washington Hotel, which is also celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year. Great venue, great event, and a nice way to kick off the Festival.

Wednesday night was the Veterans Dinner/Show, a relatively new event, which is held at the spacious Wilkins Center at Shenandoah University. The American Bombshells, a modern-day spin on The Andrews Sisters, were fantastic, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place when they sang “God Bless The USA.” I met some new friends at my table, and was honored to be part of an evening to say “thank you” to those who have served our country.

Thursday and Friday are “play days” at Apple Blossom for me. It’s become a Thursday Bloom tradition for me to have dinner in Old Town Winchester with my wife, and our usual spot is the Piccadilly Public House. Thursday night is the calm before the storm in OTW, as thousands converge on the walking mall on Friday, and Piccadilly is elbow-to-elbow. Not so on Thursday, as we were able to get a table outside, and have a nice meal of a bucket of soda pops, an appetizer, and a couple of pub burgers. Not to mention some nice quality time taking in the vibe of Apple Blossom.

Friday is “guy’s afternoon out” at the Bloom, with the third annual Denny Crane Pub Crawl (an unofficial Bloom event), so-named by yours truly and co-founding member & local musician Ted Barker, because we are both William Shatner fans. The late-morning started with a sandwich and beverage at the British-themed Union Jack, and after a short walk on the mall, back to Piccadilly in time to beat the afternoon crowd. The group Raised On Analog was smokin’, and I even got an unexpected shout-out from the stage from the band (thanks, Adrian!). Alas, the great day ended with me trying to get out of Winchester before things got crazy with the Firefighter’s Parade.

My 2024 Bloom concluded with the Apple Blossom 10k run on Saturday. Over 1000 runners had a cool, damp morning to navigate the 6.2 miles through Winchester–perfect conditions for the participants, not so much for the fans who lined the streets to cheer us on. After a slow first mile, I found my groove and was able to run a respectable 55:28. Not bad for a 64 year-old who ran a half-marathon the week before, and might have been a bit overserved on Friday afternoon. It was nice to end The Bloom on a “runner’s high.”

So, another Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is in the books, and Bloom Hangover, which is a real thing, has already begun to set in. Until next year, I’ll have some great memories to cherish, and will be ready to make some new ones in 2025!  Happy Bloom from The Booth!

RW

 

 

News Maker Sharen Gromling on the beginning of the Bloom

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival President Sharen Gromling joins Scott Bradley to discuss the festival which kicked off over the weekend.

They discuss some of the upcoming events and the festival’s efforts on highlighting our local celebrities.

To listen to Sharen’s News Maker, click here.

News makers are sponsored by Warren County.

Experience Warren County Where History, Nature, and Family Come Together.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

News Maker Sharen Gromling on the beginning of the Bloom

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival President Sharen Gromling joins Scott Bradley to discuss the festival which kicked off over the weekend.

They discuss some of the upcoming events and the festival’s efforts on highlighting our local celebrities.

News makers are sponsored by Warren County.

Experience Warren County Where History, Nature, and Family Come Together.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Back In The Race

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Greetings From The Booth!

So, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you re-seeded your NCAA brackets after arguably the craziest opening 2 rounds ever? There’s no shame in that–we did a Sweet Sixteen “re-do” in our friendly competition at work. Who saw not one, but two number-one seeds biting the dust. And there’s numver-4 seed Virginia, who fell to 13-seed Furman. Furman?!? It wasn’t quite UMBC, but still a one-and-done of major upset proportion. I still contend that the upsets happen early, but the cream always rises to the top, which is why I have Alabama playing Houston in the Championship Game.

If you listen to my morning radio show, you know that over the course of the last year, I’ve lost 48 pounds (thank you Brain & Body Health Center!). You also know that I recently ran a 5k race for the first time since 2018. Saturday’s Edward Jones Race For Education was the culmination of an almost year-long journey back to something I thought I would no longer be able to do.

That journey started right after the 2022 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. After looking at a pic of me and my buddies making merry at the “Bloom,” I realized that I was going in the wrong direction. At 210 pounds, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the photo. Sure, I had lost a few pounds on my own, but pictures don’t lie, and this pic was like a slap in the face.

Enter Dr. Evan Riggleman and his wonderful team at B&B. To make a long story short, they got me into some good habits and “reset” my metabolism in a healthy way. As for running, I started with some walks through the hills of my mountain neighborhood, gradually working in some short runs. By July, I was on my way to Deep Creek Lake minus 30 pounds, and ready for the challenging trails of DCL State Park. By late Fall, I was up to 20 miles per week and 48 pounds lighter. It was then that I targeted the Eddie Jones as my “comeback race.”

I navigated through the perils of the Holidays, managing to keep the weight off, and staying true to my running routine. At this point, Brain and Body started doing some amazing therapies on my arthritic knees, and shortly after the new year, the good doctor allowed me to play with some of his new toys which helped fight the nasty free radicals in my cells.  I was 63 going on 36!

Fast forward to race day. After a morning soak, I made my way to Warren County Middle School and the Edward Jones 5k. The butterflies were as big as 747s, not knowing how I was going to perform after 5 years of being away from running. The bar was low–finish, and enjoy the run. Period.

But, a funny thing happened. I got off to a nice early pace, running comfortably, even passing some runners in the first mile. The second mile, mostly downhill, was a bit faster, and as I started up the gradual slope of the final mile, I was faster still.  I paced myself behind a very nice lady who, with about a half mile to go, encouraged me to pass her and finish strong, which I was able to do with a nice kick to the line. How did I do? How about a top 20 finish overall, and winner of my age group with a time of 26:43. I had exceeded all expectations.

The journey continues in May with the Apple Blossom 10k…stay tuned.

RW

 

 

 

 

95th SABF is in full Bloom

Shenandoah Apple Blossom 2022

We are in full Bloom here in the Shenandoah Valley as the 95th Apple Blossom Festival is here.

Today will bring us some of the marquis events like the Grand Feature Parade which will have bands from around the country, floats, and this year’s Grand Marshall Terry Bradshaw and Sports Marshall Julius Erving.

Then put on your dancing boots for the Square dance or the Country Music Party.

Bloomin Sunday will cap things off at the Frederick County Fairgrounds with fun for the whole family.

For a full list of events, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Bloomin’ With Barry 4-25-22

Shenandoah Apple Blossom 2022

It’s Apple Blossom Festival Week, and the Wake-Up Crew celebrates with “Bloomin’ With Barry” as we share Festival Memories with the long time local radio morning icon. This morning, Randy & Barry talk about the perfect food to eat during commercial breaks of the Grand Feature Parade TV broadcast, something that became a tradition in their 15 years of working together. Enjoy!