First Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, May 3, 1924
Winchester, with its long history in the apple-growing industry, chose to honor the beauty and bounty of the apple blossom, beginning in the year 1924. On Saturday, May 3, 1924, the first Festival was a one-day event. To kick off the celebration, the parade assembled at the old fairgrounds just off Fairmont Avenue and marched through the streets of Winchester to the Royal Pavilion on the grounds of Handley High School.
Beginning in 1925, the first of three pageants was professionally produced by the John B. Rogers Production Company and staged on a dais at the fairgrounds. In 1928 the outdoor pageants were moved to the steps and esplanade of Handley High School. The pageant earned a reputation as being one of the most beautiful outdoor extravaganzas in the nation. The festival was suspended during World War II, and resumed in 1946 with its first celebrity grand marshals, Bing Crosby in 1948 and Bob Hope in 1949.
The below previously unpublished photos (dated 1925) from Lewis Reed’s album are what appears to be some of the very first photos of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival held at the old fairgrounds in Winchester, Virginia. As always, click on an image to enlarge and scroll through gallery.