National Cherry Festival Kicks Off, Locals React to President Biden’s Visit

Saturday marked the start of the National Cherry Festival.

Downtown Traverse City area was packed and filled with people eager to get back out.

After a year off, even locals are taking a second to stop by.

The hum of amusement ride, the carnival food, and the view all drew travelers to the Cherry Capital of the world.

Every year for the National Cherry Festival Max Nicholas and his family help festival goers find a place to park.

Nicholas says, “Once the lot is full, then it’s full. But people will go out and in and out and in. So, I mean it’s like a constant steady pace.”

His family has been posted on Front Street since 8:30 in the morning.

They say downtown Traverse City looks much different than this time last year.

“Definitely busier, way busier for this year but I’m hoping this year will be way better because last year we couldn’t do it,” says Nicholas.

Even locals are braving the crowd to honor the tradition.

Local Kim Hooker says, “We have lived here many years and we don’t come down to the Cherry Fest very much and we decided that this year, because it wasn’t last year, we should just get down here and celebrate that it’s open again and see all the happy faces.”

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“On Wednesday Nights the beer tent has traditionally had locals night so we’ll always do that because we see all the people we know,” says Hooker.

Festival goers were surprised to hear President Biden make a Northern Michigan appearance.

Local Kevin Graves says, “I think it’s fantastic. It’s the best thing that could happen to our community. His drawn, coming in here because he’s also going to be talking about not just going to the orchards and looking at our agriculture, he’s also going to be talking about some of his goals.”

Another festival goer, Luke Copley, says, “That was a shock to be because he could be anywhere else but he chose to be here and chose to be with Governor Whitmer as well. So that was pretty cool.”

He says that Saturday was his first time at the National Cherry Festival and says it just might be the beginning of a family tradition.

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