96th Annual National Cherry Festival is Underway in Traverse City

It’s cherry season and you know what that means here in Northern Michigan…

The 96th Annual National Cherry Festival is finally underway in Traverse City!

There is no shortage of cherries or visitors this weekend—several hundred thousand are expected out to watch the return of the Blue Angels airshow.

Traverse City native John Bailey has been coming to the National Cherry Festival for about 36 years now.

“I grew up in the area and moved away for a few years after college, but I moved back, so I’ve been coming since I was a little kid,” said Bailey.

This summer, he plans on showing his son all of his favorite events.

“We’re looking forward to the Air Show, probably more tomorrow, we might go see the Classic Car Show, we went and saw the Coast Guard last night and of course the the parade on Saturday, so it’ll be his first official,” said Bailey.

Saturday morning started with the Very Cherry Flying Pancake Breakfast, thanks to Chris Cakes in Clare.

“We set two world records, one for the highest [pancake] flipped and caught, which is 26 and a half feet and a second one for most pancakes made in an hour, which is about 1200,” said Hayden Hubel, employee at Chris Cakes.

Michigan gubernatorial candidate for governor, Kevin Rinke, was enjoying the festival with his family.

“We were catching pancakes, eating breakfast and meeting people from Traverse City, but from all over the world actually,” said Rinke. “It shows how attractive Michigan is and the beauty of what we have to offer.”

One family traveled from San Antonio, Texas, to bring their little ones to the Cherry Festival.

“We’ve got family in Michigan and it’s always beautiful in the summer,” said Danny Silva of San Antonio. “We used to come when I was a kid and we came to see the Blue Angels and hang out, enjoy the festival.”

Allie Graziano is trying to make the most of her last National Cherry Festival as Cherry Queen, before she passes on the crown at coronation next Friday.

“I just had a blast getting to meet all of the people that make the cherry industry what it is,” said Graziano. “Something really special to me was actually being able to scoop the official, hard-packed ice cream of the National Cherry Festival and getting that first bite.”

Graziano says while she is sad to give away her crown, she knows she left her mark on Traverse City and the next Cherry Queen will too.

For a full list of upcoming National Cherry Festival events, click here.

Categories: National Cherry Festival