2008

❀ The 89th Apple Blossom Festival was held April 24-May 4.

❀ Leading the royal court was Queen Justine Vanderpool, who was also queen of the junior royalty in 2001. Princesses were Emily Love and Nicole Brown. The other Top 10 finalists were Jodee Hickman, Alix Crilly, Hannah Lewis, Lauren Reed, Caileen Brison, Abbie Poirier and Danna Caron.

❀ The junior royal court were Queen Carlie Heuple, and Carley Gangle and Mikylla Davy, princesses.

❀ Greg Oakes was director general. Mary Dodge was Applarian chancellor.

❀ Wenatchee native Brad Brisbine contributed the festival art print. “A Delicious Apple Blossom” was an oil painting of the southward view from Brisbine’s Sunnyslope home.

❀ “Jesus Christ Superstar” was the festival production for Music Theatre of Wenatchee. Cast members included Paul Atwood and Marlon Browne.

❀ The Columbia Chorale’s Apple Blossom Festival concert celebrated the completion of its 25th season. The ensemble was joined by jazz artist Glenn Isaacson and members of the Wenatchee Big Band. Chorale director was Mike Hibbett.

❀ Bob and Vera Curtis were presented the Lehman Johnson Award for their volunteer service to the festival.

❀ Apple Industry Citizens of the Year were Myron, Judy, Paul and Kelly Atwood.

❀ Pro Wrestling Beyond tore up the town during the festival. Among the wrestlers on the roster were Ideal Reflection Chris Ryseck, Bolo and Santiago, Norman Smiley, Caden Matthews, Big Ugly, Ronnie Angel, Cedric, Astro Imperial and Dr. Kliever.

❀ The grand marshal of the youth parade was “Jimmy Neutron,” star of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name. Best daycare/preschool in the youth parade went to Scooby’s Learning and Play Center “Wenatchee’s Sweetest Crop.”

❀ World-class athletes and Wenatchee natives Laura Valaas and Tyler Farrar were the grand parade marshals. Valaas was a cross country skier and also a member of the U.S. ski team. Farrar was a cyclist. The grand sweepstakes float went to the Deer Park Community; community sweepstakes went to the Tacoma Daffodil Festival.

2009

❀ The 90th Apple Blossom Festival was held April 23-May 3.

❀ Queen was Katherine Safar, and her princesses were Rebecca Higgins and Breanna Allstot. The other Top 10 finalists were Cristina De Robles, Daane Dunlap, Emily Grant, Courtney Miller, Amanda Spaeth, Hannah Waterhouse and Lauren Wiggum.

❀ Junior royalty were Queen Evie Hyde, and Princesses Kyra Kissel and Lili Italiane.

❀ Linda Haglund was director general. Applarian chancellor was Tim Heidlebaugh.

❀ In honor of the festival celebrating “90 Years of Volunteers!,” the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center planned a major exhibition: “Volunteers Making History — the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival.” The exhibit included photographs, collectibles, posters, original art, buttons and other memorabilia.

❀ The Lehman Johnson Award was presented to the late Tom Mathison and his wife Lorraine for their service to the Wenatchee Valley, the fruit industry and the festival. Tom Mathison, who founded Stemilt Growers, died in December.

❀ Bob Brody, owner of King Blossom Natural and King Organic Sales, was Apple Industry Citizen of the Year.

❀ Music Theatre of Wenatchee presented “Gypsy” as its festival production. The quirky but perfectly executed “cookie ceremony” took place before the premier performance of “Gypsy.” The stage hands gathered in a circle and chanted as “mystical mint cookies” were distributed in near total darkness backstage, one to each stagehand. It was a “coming together,” said director Paul Atwood, explaining the opening-night ritual that was said to date back some 20 years to Wenatchee High School theater productions. “It’s a ‘break a leg’ for the stage crew.”

❀ Paul Pugh, founder and director of the Wenatchee Youth Circus, was youth parade grand marshal. Friar Tuck, the brown Chinese goose, honked from his cage atop the Dudes & Diggers 4-H float. The wind ruffled his gray-brown feathers. This was his fourth parade appearance.

❀ Jim Mirabell and Jerry Otis, with decades of Applarian service between them, rode together in the grand parade as part of the festival’s commemoration of 50 years of Applarian contributions.