♦ The 81st Apple Blossom Festival was held April 27-May 8.
♦ Chelsea Waliser was queen. Princesses were Mary Beth Brewer and Alison Brigleb. The other Top 10 finalists were Belen Alvarez, Katie Lease, Shaylin Murray, Kami Heminger, Monica Geren, Tanya Linge and Sarah Skagen.
♦ Chelsea Komm was queen of the junior royalty. Princesses were Shalee Johnson and Haley Pinkston.
♦ Roger Pollock was director general. Applarian chancellor was Bob Mardian.
♦ Gov. Gary Locke got a personal invitation to the festival when the royal trio visited the state Capitol.
♦ “Anything Goes” was the festival production by Music Theatre of Wenatchee. The cast included Jeanine Salter, Maren Cagle, Matthew Baldwin, Kevin McKee, Kent Salter, Don Childress, Bonnie Campbell, Paul Atwood, Chuck Rose, Adam Campbell, Ken Sinko, Marie Carlson, Yvette Barnett, Tricia Rose, Lisa McKee, Tony Magnotti, Casey Rose, Kate Manthey, Jon Davies, Ashley Armstrong, Becca Bailey, Sharley Anderson and Jenny Shaw.
♦ Bob Sumbardo was posthumously honored with the Lehman Johnson Award for his long-standing commitment to the festival. The award was accepted by his widow, Bonnie. Sumbardo died in November 1999.
♦ Lynn Wright Brown’s painting “Solitude” was chosen as the official Apple Blossom Festival poster.
♦ Methow orchardist Doug Zahn was named Apple Industry Citizen of the Year.
♦ For the second year, Mariachi Northwest was held during the festival. Coordinator was Mark Fogelquist, who also directed the Wenatchee High School band Mariachi Huenachi.
♦ A dog drill team, hip hop and Lindy Hop music and mariachi dancers highlighted the youth parade. Apple-A-Day Care Center took the Director General’s Award.
♦ Allen Brady, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, was the grand parade marshal. The Honor By Listening project at Eastmont High School, where students wrote local veterans’ stories, paved the way for Brady’s selection.
♦ TV-film actor and stand-up comic Tom Arnold hosted the Search for Granny Smith finale. Dianne White Crawford of Canyon Country, California, was the winner.
♦ The 82nd Apple Blossom Festival was held April 26-May 6.
♦ Rebecca Tinney was queen. Princesses were Cori Tift and Leanne Burnett. The other Top 10 finalists were Andrea Marquis, Sara Taplett, Heidi Visser, Tara Anderson, Amanda Rhodes, Kristin Wright and Tanya Hall.
♦ Justine Vanderpool was queen of the junior royalty. Kara Fisher and Lynn Hericks were princesses.
♦ Jeff Neher was director general. Al Kissler was Applarian chancellor.
♦ Don and Marian Huggins received the Lehman Johnson Award for their longtime service to the festival.
♦ Music Theatre of Wenatchee produced “Annie” for the festival musical. In the lead roles were 12-year-old Whitney Lee, a seventh-grader at Pioneer Middle School, and Matthew Prater. Others in the cast included Kathy Welsh, Stephanie Lacy, Tayleur Velazquez, Hannah Wise, Madison Wright, Katie Tackman, Colleen Bowen, Jeff Blackburn, Lisa McKee and John Wagner.
♦ Norm Gutzwiler, a third-generation Wenatchee Valley orchardist, was named Apple Industry Citizen of the Year.
♦ Coyote, the new mascot for the Wenatchee AppleSox, made its public debut along the youth parade route .
♦ Carly Boohm, the Tenino teen who survived a canoeing accident in the Wenatchee River in 2000, was grand parade marshal. She rode in the parade along with the local doctors and emergency workers who helped save her life.
♦ Festival-goers and local businesses displayed yellow ribbons in honor of grand parade special guest David Cecka. He was one of 24 crew members of a U.S. surveillance plane held by Chinese officials for 11 days after their plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet and made an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan. Cecka was raised in Leavenworth. NCW Nurse of the Year Nancy Focht, R.N., was also an honored guest in the grand parade.
♦ The Washington Apple Commission discontinued its Search for Granny Smith pageant to cut costs. The Apple Commission, however, still conducted its nationwide search and named Madelyn Weingarden of Amherstberg, Ontario, the new Granny Smith.