1996

 The 77th Apple Blossom Festival held April 25-May 5.

 Jill Vanderhoff was queen. Princesses were Allison Lynn and Sommer Lacy. The Royal Maids were Christine Brinton, Andrea Fry, Lindy Johnson, Whitney Sellers, Erin Brown, Janelle Babst and Sarah Droz.

 Megan Miller was queen of the junior royalty. Princesses were Rebecca Paine and Cathy Britt.

♦ John Peters was director general of the festival. Bill Dodge was Applarian chancellor.

♦ Wenatchee artist William F. Reese created the festival's official art print.

♦ Music Theatre of Wenatchee presented “The Most Happy Fella.” Leading the cast were Paul Atwood, Kelly Allen, Kelly Ginger-Atwood, Matt Baldwin, Nita Paine, Mike Ward, Don Creger and Steve Zimmerman.

♦ Eastmont High School students Matt Vedder and Mauri Rada took top honors at the Youth Day ’96 celebration. Vedder was named the festival’s first Youth Volunteer of the Year, and Rada captured the Best of Show award in the annual Kidzart event.

♦ Brent Biggar of Wenatchee and Nancy Sheehan of Tacoma were the overall top finishers in the inaugural Apple Blossom 10-Mile Run around the Loop Trail.

 Bill Redlinger and Don Kay were honored with the Lehman Johnson Award for their work with the grand parade.

 Tom Van Well, co-owner of Van Well Nursery, was the Apple Industry Citizen of the Year.

♦ Cheri's Little Apple Pickers Day Care Center float won the Spirit of the Festival Award in the youth parade.

♦ Among the winners of the 11th annual Classy Chassis parade were Perry Hagen, Mayor’s Award; Gail and Gary Platt, Royalty Award; and John and Shelley Marchant, Chamber President’s Award.

♦ The Budweiser Clydesdales were the grand parade marshals. Wenatchee High School's drum majors Eric Zonal and Joni Derifield captured the best drum major award.

♦ Jerry Mathers, of TV’s “Leave It To Beaver,” was celebrity host for the Search for Granny Smith Contest. Marjorie Ann Carlson, from Edina, Minnesota, was selected for the Granny Smith honor.

1997

♦ The 78th Apple Blossom Festival was held April 24-May 4.

♦ Queen was Stacia Wiggins. Her princesses were Marie Magnotti and Meaghan Williams. The Royal Maids were Marlene Duvall, Chasitie Baker, Siobhan McDonald, Miel Richards, Katie McCleary, Rachel Manke and Manessa Combs.

♦ Junior royalty were Courtney Starcevich, queen, and Katie Fishbourne and Melissa Isaacson, princesses.

♦ Roger Bryant was director general. Al Cordell was Applarian chancellor.

♦ Three generations of Wenatchee's Ogan family were honored as the first official Festival Family, based on their many years of involvement with the annual Apple Blossom celebration. Nancy Bittick Ogan was a festival princess in 1922. Her son, Mike, represented the family's second generation involved in the festival, having served as director general in 1977 and as Applarian chancellor in 1983. Theresa Adams Ogan, wife of Bob Ogan, was the third generation represented as queen in 1975. Her mother, Trina Hansen Adams, was a princess in 1956.

♦ A painting by Manson artist Rod Weagant was used for the festival's official art print.

♦ Music Theatre of Wenatchee’s festival production was “Crazy For You.” Cast members included Paul Atwood, Barb Goodrich, Keith Sexson, Carol Bowen and Kelly Ginger-Atwood

♦ The Sandbox Classic was a new festival event for families, schools or businesses to compete in sand sculpting.

♦ The Mariner Moose was the runaway hit at the youth parade. My School Preschool took the Director General’s Award in the parade.

♦ Agriculture leader Leo Sax was named Apple Industry Citizen of the Year.

♦ Chuck Norlin received the Lehman Johnson Award for providing communications service for the youth and grand parades. 

♦ Stage, film and TV star Shirley Jones wowed the crowd as grand parade marshal. Lula Valissarakos of Siracos Restaurant later had a reunion of sorts with Jones when she presented the actress with a swatch of the gown she wore when she received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 1961 Academy Awards. Valissarakos was the head fitter for Beverly Hills fashion designer Don Loper in 1961 and Jones was a client.

♦ Suzanne Lafond of Nashville, Tennessee, won the Washington Apple Commission's Search for Granny Smith Contest.