KENTVILLE, NS - When the mayor of Kentville first heard that the Annapolis Valley had made Expedia.ca’s list of best places to experience spring in Canada, her reaction was “It’s about time!”
Mayor Sandra Snow said the folks at the travel website are figuring out what Valley residents already know and it makes her grin from ear to ear.
A blog post by Carolyn Albee published on Expedia.ca on March 7 entitled ‘Best Places to Experience Spring in Canada’ lists the Annapolis Valley among 10 destinations. The Apple Blossom Festival, running from May 23 to 28, is mentioned specifically along with the Grand Street Parade in Kentville, coming up on May 26.
“Of course, travelling the roads of the valley through the apple orchards is the festival’s top draw, as the trees have just begun to bloom,” Albee wrote.
Wolfville’s Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens and “the award-winning Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens” are mentioned, as is the Kentville Bird Sanctuary.
Snow said she became aware of the blog post after being contacted by the Valley Journal-Advertiser and Annapolis Valley Register for comment.
“This is amazing!” she said. “The more people that come here and visit, they truly discover that this is probably their heart’s home.”
Snow said the Valley is an amazing place to see in late May and early June and she hopes that the weather cooperates for this year’s Apple Blossom Festival. She believes that the recognition from Expedia.ca has the potential to draw more visitors to the Valley for this year’s festival and in the future.
She said visitors who come for the festival would quickly realize that Kentville can act as a “hub” or starting point for all sorts of day trips to discover the Valley and the entire province. For example, visitors can rent bicycles from Valley Stove and Cycle for the day and take advantage of the 118 km of trails along the former rail bed from Grand Pre to Annapolis Royal.
Snow said everyone in the Valley “should be standing up and cheering” because nobody comes to the region to stop in only one place. A lot of visitors who come for the first time in the spring will notice our many wineries and want to return in the fall for a tour.
She recommends experiencing a whale watching tour in the Digby area and taking two trips to Hall’s Harbour - once at low tide and again at high tide - to gain an appreciation for the world’s highest tides. Snow said visitors could go to Evangeline Beach or Blomidon at low tide and experience what the ocean floor feels like.
“Our North and our South Mountain may not be the Rockies but you know what? You can walk on the ocean floor here,” she said.
Festival foresees positive impact
Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival president and former Queen Annapolisa Alxys Chamberlain said she couldn’t express how proud and honoured the festival’s board of directors feels to have been named in Expedia.ca’s article. It’s “definitely a wonderful announcement to celebrate.”
She said her first reaction upon hearing the news was one of complete elation and amazement. A representative from Expedia.ca had contacted the festival office directly and board members couldn’t wait to share the news. Chamberlain said she believes that this sense of excitement will last for a very long time.
She said they’re not only thankful to Expedia.ca for this recognition, but also to all of the volunteers, communities, sponsors, supporters and especially the Valley residents who continue to make the Apple Blossom Festival a prestigious event.
Chamberlain said that for the last 86 years, volunteers with the support of local businesses and communities have been working diligently behind the scenes to host an event that celebrates our beautiful and historic region.
“Year after year, the aim is for the festival to be not only the leading festival in Atlantic Canada, but the premier family festival in the country and we feel that being recognized by Expedia in this way demonstrates that the festival is indeed a landmark event in Canada,” Chamberlain said.
She said the Expedia.ca article could lead to many positive impacts. While attendance at Apple Blossom Festival events continues to be great year after year, organizers hope that more residents from Windsor to Digby will take part.
“We hope that this will also result in more tourists, from Nova Scotia, Canada and even international travelers, to attend the festival and enjoy their stay in our beautiful region,” Chamberlain said. “While this will be positive for the festival, it is our hope that this will also have a large impact on Valley businesses and they will see an economic benefit as a result.”
She said festival organizers believe that sponsors will also benefit from this endorsement, as it provides them with great exposure as a supporter of a must-visit spring destination in Canada. Chamberlain said the recognition proves that the festival has a lot to offer our area, province and country and it promotes their wish as a board to create a sustainable event that will still be running 86 years from now.
“We are delighted to host a magnitude of diverse events. From the Grand Street Parade to our Blossom Food Truck Party, we truly have something to offer everyone who attends,” she said.