Serious Message Behind National Cherry Festival Cherry Pie Make And Bake

Cherry pie is a very important part of the National Cherry Festival, and Thursday hundreds of kids had the opportunity to make one.

But behind all that deliciousness, there was a serious message, one that every parent needs to hear.

Peyton Reed is a seasoned veteran at cherry pie making.

"First we put the cherries in, and then put the powder to make them less tart." 

Taste tests are always required.

"Then put the crumbs on to smush the cherries in there to make them squashed and delicious."

Not always the easiest job.

"Then put the heart on, of course, that's what every pie should need.”

There is a lot of heart and love that goes into every pie here, but there's also a serious message that every parent needs to hear.

"Child sexual abuse affects approximately 1 in 10 children before the age of 18. Some statistics show it's actually 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys, so organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, actually refer to child sexual abuse as an epidemic."

It's not something many people want to think about or talk about, but that's why Hannah Rodriguez from the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center is here, and why they've been a part of this event for 10 years.

"We provide both intervention and prevention services having do to with child abuse and neglect, so on our intervention side of things, we work very closely with law enforcement and Child Protective Services."

But today's message is one of prevention.

“Really the only thing we can do is open those lines of communication, talk to our kids, talk to one another and support each other in saying we're going to let kids be empower to know that their bodies and their boundaries belong to them."

Maybe not the venue that most would expect, but Hannah says it's effective.

"They realize I'm so happy that my children are safe and that I can do something to keep all these children safe. It's clear on people’s faces that they're listening, and they're hearing, and they're ready to go do something about it and talk about it."

So that kids like Peyton can continue to enjoy the innocent fun that is childhood.

"I made a cherry pie and I was on TV!" says Peyton.