Dogwood Festival

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The Dogwood Festival is a two week long series of events that celebrate the arrival of spring in Charlottesville. The festival began in 1950 as the Apple Harvest Festival, and in 1958 the name was changed in celebration of the state tree and flower. Its purpose is to showcase Charlottesville as a thriving city and center of commerce. [1]

Dogwood flowers in bloom

The Apple Harvest Festival

The Apple Harvest Festival was designed in 1950 to celebrate Charlottesville's rich apple production while bringing publicity to the city. At this time, the festival was hosted in the fall during the apple harvest. [1] The festival was financed by Charlottesville Businessmen. Sol Weinberg, the future mayor of Charlottesville, was the first president of the festival. [2]

Like the current festival, the Apple Harvest Festival consisted of a parade and a carnival, as well as festivities in honor of the Festival's annual Queen.[1]

The Carnival

The centerpeice of the festival is a carnival held in McIntire Park, which may move to a temporary location in future years while construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway and the new Piedmont Family YMCA facility gets underway. [3],

The carnival features rides, games, and food, and has been a popular attraction for decades.


The Parade

An annual Dogwood Parade is also a major part of the celebration. The preformers march through the city and the event is broadcasted on WVIR. [4] The next is scheduled for April 21, 2018.

The Dogwood Queens

Each year, a Dogwood Queen is announced and she makes an appearance on one of the floats in the parade. When the parade began the Queen was always a model or actress from New York or Washington D.C. that was hired to rein over the festival. However, starting in 1968, the Dogwood Queen was chosen from among the local county princesses. [1]

The Past Dogwood Queens:

Dogwood Queen in the Dogwood Parade
2018 Victoria Lauren Patience Belew
2017 Georgianna Kaylee Woodward
2016 Dorothy Virginia Cosner
2015 Olivia Carter Rumsey
2014 Katelyn Marie Almarode
2013 Abigail Erin Griswold
2012 Kelsey Alexis Schlein
2011 Lauren Ashley Yowell
2010 Kathryn Rachel Scott
2009 Ashlyn Jenkins
2008 Delesia Amanda Watson
2007 Emily Schwab
2006 Brady Small
2005 Sarah Dorrier
2004 Ashley Ryan O'Keefe
2003 Josie Casto
2002 Shannon Jeffries
2001 Ashley Walton
2000 Jennifer Arrington
1999 Krissy Yowell
1998 Devon Knott
1997 Jessica Beck
1996 Melissa Sterling
1995 Angel Payne
1994 Joanie McDaniel
1993 Liza Baseler
1992 Elizabeth Hiter
1991 Tracey Halsey
1990 Carla Shifflett
1989 Frieda Loose
1988 Jennifer Fincham
1987 Susan Gammon
1986 Suzanne Horton
1985 Anne Stack
1984 Susan Clough
1983 Lisa Cook
1982 Laurie Thurneck
1981 Rhonda Lamm
1980 Francis Hicks
1979 Allison White
1978 Lori Chafee
1977 Belinda Spangler
1976 Donna Bass
1975 Valerie Booker
1974 Patsy Parr
1973 Marilyn Kay Harris
1972 Deborah Powers
1971 Teresa Southard
1970 Jeanne Dorsey
1969 Ellis Robertson
1968 Lynn Mitchell
1966 Honey Lucas
1961 Jeannie Thomas
1959 Sue Singleton

The Apple Harvest Queens

1957 Debbie Brown
1956 Martha Dean Chestnut

Dedication of the Vietnam Memorial

The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial, thought to be the nation's first memorial of this kind, is re-dedicated every year at the last day of the Dogwood Festival in April. This dedication includes placement of new flags, a guest speaker who was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and renditions of "Taps" and "Amazing Grace", as well as a 21-gun salute. Jim Shisler, founder of the memorial and part of the Dogwood Festival Committtee, is responsible for the planning of this event. [1]

DogwoodVietnamMemorial img5010a 569x403.jpg


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Web. "The Charlottesville Dogwood Festival", Smith, Elizabeth D. Wood, Google Books, retrieved 18 Nov. 2010.
  2. [1]
  3. Web. Dogwood Festival to Remain at McIntire, Won't Move to Mall, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, 18 Mar. 2010, retrieved Web. 19 Mar. 2010.
  4. [2]

External links

Charlottesville Dogwood Festival