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Gov. McCrory to ride in King Apple Parade

Gov. Pat McCrory enjoys a pancake breakfast with Sheriff Charlie McDonald during the 2012 Apple Festival. Gov. Pat McCrory enjoys a pancake breakfast with Sheriff Charlie McDonald during the 2012 Apple Festival.

Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to ride in the King Apple parade at the North Carolina Apple Festival Monday, the first time in 21 years that an incumbent governor has visited Hendersonville for the festival.


"I just think it shows the support and how huge the Apple Festival is in Henderson County," said 2013 festival president Tonya Cochran. "I was very impressed that Congressman Meadows came to the opening ceremony. It just shows what a phenomenal place this is and what a great community Henderson County is."
This will be the second straight visit McCrory has made to the festival. A year ago during his campaign for governor the Republican nominee enjoyed the Kiwanis Club's pancake breakfast and visited the festival on opening day.
Sheriff's Maj. Frank Stout said the department was aware that McCrory would be here Monday but it did not have any special duties beyond the usual Apple Festival security.
"I know he's coming," Stout said. "He'll have his own security detail and the parade being in the city I would think they would coordinate with the city police."
McCrory is spending the weekend at the Western Mansion in Asheville and has the visit to Hendersonville on his schedule on Labor Day, said Ryan Tronovitch, a press aide in Raleigh.
Hendersonville has not seen a sitting governor at the Apple Festival since Gov. Jim Martin accompanied President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Bush, who was then running for re-election against Bill Clinton, made a speech on a Saturday afternoon that is remembered by those who were there for the heavy downpour that occurred.

"Listen, even the rain can't ruin a great festival like this," Bush said. "This is wonderful, and Barbara and I are thrilled to be here."

"We know you've been standing out in that rain for a long time," he said as he closed his remarks. "But when Barbara Bush -- you know, the other side wants to get us away from talking about family values. You come to a festival like this, and you feel that sense of love and that sense of family. We're going to keep on saying, let's find ways to strengthen the American family, not tear it apart. ... My last point is this — you've been standing out there long enough, and I want to eat some apples."

During a seven-day campaign swing over the Labor Day weekend Bush made stops in Asheville and Hendersonville.
"I know it was a real mess because we had to move all the vendors out and all that stuff to protect the president," said David Nicholson, the executive director of the Apple Festival. He was county manager then and was involved in the festival as a volunteer.
McCrory faces a mild political risk riding in the King Apple Parade two weeks after he vetoed a bill that eased background check requirements for migrant farm labor. Apple farmers and the green industry in Henderson County strongly favored the bill as a stopgap measure to help ensure a steady labor force. Henderson County's delegation — state Sen. Tom Apodaca and Rep. Chuck McGrady — say they think the Legislature has the votes to override McCrory's veto.
"I would like to see that bill overridden by the Legislature to help our farmers," said Henderson County Republican Party chairman Andrew Riddle. "That hurts our agriculture community."
Despite the demerit from the growers whose product the festival honors, McCrory will be in friendly territory. He won 65 percent of the vote in Henderson County last November, and with Republicans controlling the Legislature as well Henderson County enjoys far greater power than it did under years of Democratic rule in Raleigh.
"I think the western part of the state is finally getting recognized," Riddle said.