‘My heart is so full’
Apple Blossom royal party visit Hants County as festival wraps up
Annapolisa 85th, her ladies in waiting and the leadership candidates representing communities across the Annapolis Valley walked up the tree-shaded path towards the historic Churchill House in Hantsport on a sunny spring afternoon.
They were all smiles as town crier Lloyd Smith rang his bell and community members snapped pictures from their personal cameras and phones.
Smith read aloud a proclamation before Amy Meister, Queen Annapolisa, gave some remarks thanking the people of Hantsport and her fellow leadership candidates for making it all possible.
Meister said she was excited to learn more about The Haven of Hospitality.
“I’ve never been to Hantsport this in-depth before, I’ve driven through it and driven through Windsor, but I’m really excited to see Churchill House and all of the historic elements of Hantsport and Windsor,” Meister said. “It’s going to be really fun.”
Meister said she’s been able to meet so many people through her participating in the festival.
“I’ve learned a lot about public speaking, interview skills and I’ve gained a lot of confidence,” she said. “That’s something I’ll keep working on throughout this whole experience.”
Courtney Garland, who represents Hantsport at this year’s festival, said she was thrilled to be back in her home community.
“I was writing my speech this morning and I thought I was going to cry in the middle of it because my heart is so full because this community has given so much to me,” Garland said. “It’s nice to come back and see everyone who has supported me.”
Garland said one thing that has stood out to her throughout the Apple Blossom experience is the importance of being yourself.
“We all didn’t really focus on the competition, but rather getting to know each other and having a good time,” she said. “I think all of our personalities really came forward and the bonds we’ve made are unbelievable.”
Her child attendant Abby Sefcik, 9, said the whole experience was an exciting one.
Eleanor Gallant, last year’s Queen Annapolisa, who is also from Hantsport, came as well, saying she felt nostalgic about coming back for Apple Blossom.
“Exactly a year ago today, I was coming back and visiting for the first time, seeing my family for the first time after a really incredible beginning,” Gallant said. “It’s really nice to be able to come back and see the memories that the new royal party is making. It’s really nice to see the festival is in such good hands with the girls we have this year.”
After having supper at Churchill House in Hantsport, the royal party travelled to Windsor, where they greeted guests at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre.
Windsor’s Savannah Sullivan said the whole experience has been “unexplainable,” adding that she’s honoured to represent Windsor-West Hants.
“I didn’t realize how many lifetime friendships I would make with all of these girls,” Sullivan said. “I thought, ‘how could you bond with girls in four days?’ That’s crazy. But, within a few hours, we were best friends.”
The royal party makes its way to Churchill House in Hantsport before moving on to Windsor near the end of the Apple Blossom Festival.