As the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival kicks off Friday in nearby Winchester, Va., it’s the perfect time to enjoy apples in a unique toasted sandwich at a cozy downtown pub here.
Slices of Granny Smith are a key ingredient in two paninis on the menu at Beasley’s Books and Eccentricities, the bookshop at 307 W. Washington St. in Charles Town that also serves lunch, dinner, wine and beer.
Expected to bring 200,000 or so visitors to Winchester between its start Friday and May 6, “The Bloom” has been a Shenandoah Valley mainstay since its start in 1924.
Over the years, the festival’s big Saturday afternoon parade and other events have attracted powerhouse celebrities from President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to Lucille Ball, Erik Estrada, Katie Couric, Chevy Chase, Jack Dempsey, Dorothy Hamill, Hank Aaron, Susan Lucci and, this year, TV actor and “Extra” news magazine host Mario Lopez.
The festival officially begins Friday with the Bloominí Wine Fest, a two-day event on the Loudoun Street pedestrian mall in historic Old Town. Other festival fun includes a carnival, a golf tournament, a prayer brunch, lunches, dinners, a ball and other dances, a circus, a 10K race, the Firefighters Parade on the evening of May 4 and then the Grand Feature Parade at 1 p.m. May 5. There’s also an apple pie baking contest.
At Beasley’s, apples appear on the menu in two of the eatery’s eight paninis. On a recent Saturday, the Spirit captured 18-year-old sandwich maker and book salesman Cody Houghton as he put together a Farmer’s Delight, a sandwich he frequently prepares for his own workday lunch break.
The sandwich is a new take on a grilled cheese. With slices of bacon and a bit of honey mustard, it’s made with cheddar and apples on multigrain. Houghton said another favorite at Beasley’s is the toasty New Englander with smoked ham, cheddar, a layer of Granny Smith slices and apple butter on raisin bread.
Beasley’s is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Beasley’s hours are noon to 5 p.m.
For more details on all the Apple Blossom Festival happenings, go to www.thebloom.com.