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A Look Behind National Cherry Festival’s “Go for the Gold Commemorative Pin Program”

If you happen to go to the National Cherry Festival, don’t forget to pick up a commemorative pin from the “Go for the Gold Commemorative Pin Program.”

And if you’ve bout one in the last 29 years, there’s a good chance it came from Peter Garthe.

“I sell pins in the beer tent everyday from Saturday July 2 through July 9,” said Garthe. “I keep breaking records every year from 1993 to now.”

From the first day of the National Cherry Festival, to the last, this is where you’ll find Peter Garthe. And it’s no easy task.

“I only get five hours of sleep,” he says. “Every year, hours for the cherry festival from Saturday to Saturday. From 12 noon all the way to 10 o’clock each day, but sometimes, the last time it’ll be all done by 5 o’clock.”

So it’s no wonder he earned himself a special name around here.

“Oh, everybody calls me the pin man,” Garthe said.

For $5 you can get a silver or gold pin. Not only does it get you into the beer tent, but there’s a new one every year to collect.

“Silver pins, commemorative pins you have to wear to get in the beer tent or collectors pin. And the gold pins, if you get a gold pin you’re in the drawing for a Toyota Camry and other prizes,” he says.

The gold pin enters you into the drawing for a special grand prize every year. Over the years, several of those winning pins came from Peter. “Grand prize winners came from me,” Garthe says.

As Garthe keeps volunteering for the festival and reaching new milestones every year, he has one big goal in mind.

“My goal is to get $1 million in line sales then I can retire.

Garthe says he thinks he’ll be able to reach that $1 million goal in five years. He’s already reached a major milestone last night, raising $750,000. He’s on track to reach another milestone Wednesday, selling 250,000 pins.