National Cherry Festival Looks to Future After Decision to Postpone in 2020

There won’t be Blue Angels in the skies above Traverse City this year.

No Ultimate Air Dogs soaring at The Open Space.

No parades down Front Street.

And The Open Space won’t welcome its usual array of cherry-themed events and vendors.

This week we would have seen the National Cherry Festival return for another year in Traverse City—but they made the decision to postpone back in April amid coronavirus concerns.

Kat Paye, executive director of The National Cherry Festival, says it was a difficult decision for them to make.

“This is kind of something we’re all getting used to right now, but it’s not something we like,” Paye says. “We like creating memories, and opportunities, and traditions for families to get to get together, and create those generations of fun we’ve been doing it for 94 years. This is not what we love, but this is what we’re going to do right now for the safety of our community until it’s safe to be together again.”

For now, organizers of  The National Cherry Festival are doing what they can to keep some events alive, even if that requires some modifications.

“Parades are the rolling storybook of our community that takes stock everything of what we do. Those are the chapters of our lives, and those kids on those floats, but we are still celebrating our princes and princesses that royalty program is alive and well those kids have been celebrated for the last few months,” Paye says.

As for what next year’s National Cherry Festival might hold, a lot of that is still unknown. But some events have already been locked in.

“A lot of things for 2021 and the future— there isn’t any lineup scheduled for the air show yet for 2022, but for next year you will see a lot of our same civilian acts that were anticipated for this year. Michael Goulian will be back in 2021 along with, of course, our signature jet ski and the Thunderbirds as of right now,” Paye says.

And you can rest assured The National Cherry Festival will be back, ready to create more cherry-filled memories.

“I think the future is so unknown right now and that’s the hardest part, we don’t have a clear date of, yes, you can go ahead and have an event for 500,000. We’re living day-by-day, we are looking at things, we are launching some new programs, using a lot of virtual program to help our foundation continue to sustain and continue to do the programs we do in this community and move forward,” Paye says.

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Categories: Coronavirus, National Cherry Festival