Nat’l Cherry Festival Board, Area Businesses Prep for Northern Michigan’s Largest Festival

Northern Michigan’s biggest festival is less than a week away.

National Cherry Festival volunteers are already hard at work, getting everything set up before events start this Saturday, July 2.

At 12:01 Tuesday morning, volunteers were already at the Open Space unloading trucks for National Cherry Festival set-up.

“Well, it’s kind of like prepping for a war," said Milk & Honey Owner Joe Welsh. "You know, you don’t want to run out of ammunition."

Cherry Festival is less than a week away, but preparing for an event of that magnitude has to start early.

“Before next week, we have to set up the entire Open Space,” said NCF Director of Operations Kat Paye. “So we’ve got tents, tables, chairs, vendors, fencing –all that has to come in as well as build our electrical and plumbing.”

An effort that’s only possible with about 45,000 hours of collective work from volunteers.

And starting Tuesday, no parking will be allowed on the Marina Drive by the Open Space.

“It’s a safety issue," Paye explains. "We’re running equipment around here too. We put signs up on the TART Trail if we are running equipment to make sure people are notified and can take an alternate route to get through town.”

The Cherry Festival impacts everyone in town, so area businesses are also preparing.

Milk & Honey says it’s the most important time of the year for them financially.

“They have to run hard," Welsh said. "It’s a pretty fast, high-paced business going on here. The line will be all the way through the lobby, out the door and around the corner.”

With more staff than they’ve ever had at one time, Milk & Honey is hoping to keep up with the influx of customers they’re expecting.

“A lot of extra hours, and we now have 22 staff members. Last year at this time we had 18 staffers, and it wasn’t enough. So I’m hoping 22 is enough this year.”

The National Cherry Festival volunteers expect to empty the storage warehouse by the end of the day Tuesday.

Categories: National Cherry Festival