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Governor's daughter to be crowned apple blossom queen

Anita Kumar

Each year, organizers of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester search for the daughter -- or granddaughter -- of a prominent family to be their queen.

In 1975, they tapped President Ford's daughter, Susan. In 1993, they selected the granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, Elizabeth. Three years later, they picked the daughter of actor Michael Landon, Shawna.

This year, they looked to Virginia's new first family.

Rachel Lynn McDonnell, 21, the middle daughter of Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will be crowned the 83rd queen of the festival during a coronation ceremony April 30.

Kay Bolliger, a past president of the festival and a co-chair of its celebrity department, described Rachel McDonnell as a "gracious, articulate young woman."

Rachel McDonnell will preside over the festival's events, between April 23 and May 2, including of course the Grand Feature Parade on May 1. She will graduate from James Madison University the weekend after the festival.

The festival attracts more than 250,000 people and includes more than 30 events, including band competitions, dances, parades and a 10k run. Movie star Val Kilmer will serve as the grand marshal. (Yes, that Val Kilmer -- of Batman and Top Gun.)

By Anita Kumar  |  April 20, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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