APPLE BLOSSOM PARADE AND FESTIVAL
The Westford Kiwanis has sponsored the annual Apple Blossom Festival since 1968. This event, held every spring, is our major fund raiser. The proceeds from this event are given back to our community in the form of scholarships, financial support to student programs, senior summer cookouts, and the ability to provide help to a neighbor in need. During this festival we also work with other community groups by providing them an outlet to promote awareness of their causes.
HISTORY OF THE APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Leo J. Connell (Past Historian Westford Kiwanis)
I would like to take you back to May 19, 1935, the birth of the first Apple Blossom Festival in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was made possible through the efforts of a small group of apple growers here in Westford. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, the State College and County Extension Services contributed to the support of their facilities.
The then Governor of Massachusetts James M. Curley, was in attendance, addressed the crowd and crowned the Queen. The Queen being Miss Phyllis Wright, a student at Emerson College of Oratory, and daughter of William E. and Ruby Wright. After the ceremony, Governor Curley was invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Prescott, which was the Old Colonial Tavern at the head of Westford Common.
The following year, 1936, the festival idea was expanded to include the thirty eight towns comprising the Nashoba Apple Belt. Ten towns actively cooperated in celebrating; each choosing a princess as their representative at the Royal Court. The Queen and her maids of honor were chosen from Westford where the festivities were held. The Governor again showed his interest by crowing Mary Elizabeth Perrins, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Arthur Perrins the second Nashoba Queen. Tours were outlined through the orchard districts and the idea took such a hold on the public that nearly 50,000
people passed through Westford on Apple Blossom Sunday.
The 1937 Festival had for its Queen Miss Portia Prescott the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Prescott. At that time Portia was a junior at Rogers Hall in Lowell, Massachusetts. Queen Portia was crowned by Governor Bradford. Portia was one of the tenth generations of Prescott’s, who settled in Nashoba
district nearly 300 years ago. The following girls were chosen to be the maids of honor to the Queen. They were Barbara Chandler, Ellen Keizer, Ellen Dudevoir and Leslie Swanson. This was the last year that the town of Westford was active in the Apple Blossom Festival.
It was not until 1968 that the rebirth of the festival was realized. The festival was brought back by the efforts of the Westford Kiwanis and has been an annual event since that time. The main event of the 1968 festival was a fish fry. Hundreds of pounds of fish were served to the public under a forty by one hundred foot tent erected on the Abbot School athletic field.
Each festival starts off with a lengthy parade consisting of two or more bands, floats, any town group who wish to participate, and most colorful of all is the Apple Blossom Queen and her maids of honor who ride in open convertibles furnished by town residents. There are rides for the children food and soda and other town clubs and organizations are invited to participate.