Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival
|Apple Blossom Festival|
|Begins||Last Wednesday of May|
|Ends||First Monday of June|
Established in 1933 to promote the valley's traditions and agricultural heritage, valley communities from Windsor to Digby that can afford to contribute financially are welcomed to come together to celebrate this special event each year, although the majority of celebrations are focused in the eastern valley communities of Kentville, and Wolfville. The primary focus of the festival in recent decades has been to promote itself as a family event for all valley communities and visitors. The Apple Blossom Festival has become one of the most important community festivals in Atlantic Canada.
Early promoters of the festival intended for the event to recognize the scenic beauty of the Valley and the historic background of the apple growing industry, as well as to provide an opportunity to foster and develop local cultural talent through participation in festival events. As a result of change and diversification of the region's growing economy, the festival now showcases a variety of local businesses while continuing to promote local cultural talent and highlight the area's scenic beauty.
Community involvement in the festival has always been its strength. Preparation requires organizing 300 volunteers to plan and participate over a time frame of several months.
Major events such as the Grand Street Parade, children's parade and the Apple Blossom Concert are complemented by numerous social events, such as dances, barbecues, and old-style home-cooked dinners at church and community halls, and other social affairs in towns and villages throughout the length of the valley. During the Festival, Kentville's downtown core is alive with patrons at several local taverns and pubs, and is a traditional place to catch up and renew acquantances.
The festival draws many tourists to the area to take in a number of festival events and local culture while also enjoying the beautiful scenery of the valley with apple orchards in full bloom.
The Apple Blossom Grand Street Parade is one of the largest parades in Canada, drawing close to 100,000 people along the route, which runs from New Minas to Kentville and includes marching bands and various floats sponsored by community groups and local businesses. There are also floats for participants in the festival's pageant, who are referred to as "princesses" (one representing each town in the valley). The winning princess is proclaimed "Queen Annapolisa", and she represents the area for the coming year at various events. Queen Annapolisa is traditionally crowned on Friday evening, the night before the Grand Street Parade, at a gala event. In addition to the Grand Street Parade, The Apple Blossom Festival boasts the largest children's parade in Canada, taking place generally on Saturday morning before the Grand Street Parade.
The annual fireworks display is sponsored by Fireworks FX. In the early 1990s, at Michelin's request, the Thursday night fireworks show which had always kicked off the weekend long Apple Blossom Festival, was moved to Saturday night. Since then it has alternated between Friday and Saturday night.