Apple Fest memories will last a lifetime

NAPPANEE — Samantha Loucks will represent the city of Nappanee and the Nappanee Apple Festival over the coming year in her new role as 2010 Miss Apple Blossom.
Loucks was crowned opening night of the 35th Annual Apple Festival, Sept. 16. The scholarship pageant took place inside the NIPSCO tent in the Nappanee Train Depot parking lot in the 200 block of South Main Street.
The new queen competed as Miss Loucks and Weaver CPA. She is the daughter of Tom and Karen Loucks, Nappanee.
Her royal court includes first runner-up Katie Stephenson, Miss CVS Pharmacy, daughter of Neil and Katina Stephenson. Whitney Roe, daughter of Brian and Tina Roe, Goshen, was second runner-up. She competed as Miss BriMar Wood Innovations, Goshen.
Miss Apple Blossom Scholarship Pageant contestants were judged in four categories for the chance to earn up to 200 points toward the title. Judges reviewed biographies, essays written by contestants, stage presence, and grade point averages before tabulating points.
Seven young women from the Wa-Nee Community School District vied for the title. Each was sponsored by a local business. Other candidates in the scholarship pageant included Molly George, Miss George’s Service and Car Wash; Kayla Bear, Miss Ace Hardware; Brittany Schmucker, Miss Martin’s Supermarket; and Ashley Holderman, Miss Bruno’s Pizza.
Contestants wrote about their experiences, and lessons learned, from past Nappanee Apple Festivals.
“I learned about the Amish through the baked goods sold at the apple festival,” said Roe as she read her essay during the pageant.
George described how coming to the festival each fall was a treasured tradition not only for herself and loved ones, but also many other individuals and families.
Antiques, races and special foods were just a few of the perks from the festival recognized by Bear. She identified a sense of community as being the number one perk felt by all who live in Nappanee and visit, or take part in, the Apple Festival each September.
Schmucker described her early memories of being excited to attend the festival. She then described the transition into preteen years when she was allowed enough freedom to “hang with the girls” at the festival.
Schmucker credits both experiences as helping her to grow into a sincere appreciation of the “wholesome clean fun,” and treasured “time with family and friends.”
Holderman narrated her experience of truly comprehending the large variety of things offered at the festival, and how it catered to a vast number of interests. Holderman said she finally experienced this understanding during the 2009 Nappanee Apple Festival.
Despite reaching a level of appreciation for the reality of the annual event, the contestant also delighted in sharing one lighthearted experience.
 “I remember my friend and I were given tickets to the log-sawing contest,” said Holderman, who admitted to thinking they had received elite tickets to a pricey section of the seats allowed to the audience.
 “But we were actually in the front row. So every time one of them lost their balance and fell, the water splashed all over us,” she continued with a laugh.
Stephenson’s list ranged from fair rides, to mixing and creating sand art, as her favorite memories of the festival.
Loucks said her experience as a 6-year-old visitor to the event was recorded on film and still entertained her family when played at gatherings.
 “I was inside one of those inflatable rooms that you bounce on,” described Loucks, “and tied to this bungee cord as I walked across it trying to reach a ball. But it was always just out of my reach and I would fall down and start bouncing. Even today when someone in our family needs to laugh about something they get that movie out and play it because it still cracks everyone up,” she said
 All seven candidates seemed agreed that fond memories are created by the annual event, and that the Nappanee Apple Festival is important to the entire community.