This 2-minute video, “The Future Takes Flight: Drones Enhancing Safety & Community at the 2023 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival,” highlights the tremendous value of drone technology in enhancing safety, supporting public safety agencies, and fostering a sense of community collaboration during large-scale events like the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.

Throughout the festival, eight flight teams from various public safety agencies in Virginia and Pennsylvania operated drones, showcasing the cooperative efforts among different regions. A highlight of the event was an official training session organized by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, attended by the Lt. Governor of Virginia, Winsome Earl-Sears, and industry representatives from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Colorado.

The operational area spanned approximately one square mile, with over 40 flights conducted from seven designated locations within the town. The drones were actively involved in assisting with real emergency events during their training flights. Some notable instances included the use of FLIR cameras to assess the potential risk of a vehicle fire, successfully locating a lost individual with mental health concerns and reuniting them with their group, and participating in a search for an alleged assault suspect who was ultimately located by a patrol unit on the ground. The video also demonstrates how drones played a crucial role in identifying multiple non-cooperative drone operations in the festival area, ensuring safety compliance during the event.

The video features footage and photography from the 2022 and 2023 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festivals, and was produced collaboratively by NEOFIX, a program of the Technology Partnership Initiative at Baldwin Wallace University, ATA, LLC, and Vaux, LLC.