Contestants, escorts prepare for the 61st annual Apple Blossom Cotillion

Stock photo.

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Although the rehearsal hadn’t officially begun,  Apple Blossom Cotillion participants were already tapping their feet, swaying to the sounds of “Crocodile Rock,” and practicing moves on the sidelines of the Riverside Middle School gym.

“It’s just so much fun!” said Emilia Battista. “It’s a lot of work, too, but I love how everything is coming together!”

Cotillion group 2017. Photo by Karen Engdahl.

With only a precious few rehearsals left before the May 6 cotillion, the participants were energetic, enthusiastic and focused; their positive energy filled the room.

“The rehearsals are every Sunday from one until four but it goes really fast,” said Cassidy Otis. “My favorite part is when we dance with the little kids.  They get so excited!”

Kayla Quimby agreed that rehearsing with the Young Cotillionaires was a highlight of the event. “They go so hard!” she said.

Suzanne Shaughnessey, director of the cotillion, is in her thirteenth year in that role. “I love when it gets to this point,” she said. “Everything is starting to come together and they’re really excited about what they’re doing. I try to put together music and dance they wouldn’t experience any other way. It’s challenging to create a program that’s interesting to the kids and to the community.”

This year the theme is 80s and 90s rock and roll, including music that’s new to the participants as well as old favorites.

“I used to dance to Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ when I was a little kid,” said Otis. Other participants named “I Love Rock and Roll” and “We Got the Beat” as favorites.

“I just love the opportunity to sing and dance,” said Nathan Wardwell, summing up the general sentiment of the group.

The 61st Apple Blossom Queen will be crowned Saturday, May 6 at Riverside Gymnasium in Springfield.

“The Apple Blossom Cotillion is both a community tradition and a fundraising event,” said Larry Kraft, director of development for Springfield Hospital, which presents the event. Proceeds are used for the Dr. E. Sherburne Lovell Health Career Award and to support local health care services.

Tickets may be purchased at Tina’s Hallmark Store and at Boccaccio’s salons.


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