- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - Actor Sean Astin has crowned his daughter Alexandra as queen of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival - a role he said she was made for.

The 17-year-old, who goes by Ali, was crowned as the 87th festival queen in the Patsy Cline Theatre at Handley High School on May 2.

One of her first acts as queen was knighting her grandfather John Astin as knight minister of the festival.

In an interview, Sean Astin recalled telling Ali that she was being asked to be the festival queen.

In 2004, when he was the Bloom’s co-grand marshal with Loni Anderson, Ali said she wanted to come back as the queen.

Sean Astin said she was excited when he relayed the request for her to be the queen.

“When I told her, I barely got the sentence out, I said, ‘Apple Blo …’ she just leapt up and got so excited,” Astin said. “Watching her enjoy something she really wanted to do is going to be the best.

“Ali is designed for the kinds of activity that a queen-in-waiting goes through. She loves to meet people. She loves to give energy to people. She remembers people’s names. She loves getting dressed up and doing her hair and wearing beautiful dresses.”

For her Coronation, Ali wore a strapless white satin wedding dress with a cinched-in bodice and sequined blossoms.

Pomp and pageantry preceded the father and daughter’s arrival at the ceremony.

In addition to a color guard made up of Randolph-Macon Academy cadets, the celebrants included a procession of dozens of princesses escorted by members of the Shenandoah University baseball team, as well as various officials, including Winchester Mayor Elizabeth Minor and 27th District state Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville.

Children served as little maids and pages.

Festival President Lou Ann Thompson declared the beginning of the festival during the ceremony.

“Let’s enjoy together the beauty, the pageantry and merrymaking … as we welcome another springtime to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley,” she said.

Ali’s parents Sean and Christine Astin placed the silver-flowered crown upon her head.

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