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The Four

Peter Garthe celebrates 35 years of selling National Cherry Festival pins

If you’ve ever bought a pin at the National Cherry Festival, there’s a good chance you’ve met Peter Garthe. Some even refer to him as the festival’s mascot.

“I’ve been selling pins for 35 years now. I love selling pins at the Cherry Festival. And three years from now, my goal is 300,000 pins and 1 million dollars. Then I could retire there,” said Peter Garthe.

Peter Garthe is a Traverse City native who started selling the Cherry Festival pins in 1990 when he was 31 years old. And since then, he’s made quite a few sales.


“This year I’ve sold 5,137 pins and I’ve raised $842,800 for the Cherry Festival,” said Garthe.

And every year on May 1st, it’s game time for Peter Garthe.

“I ride my bike 320 miles to sell pins. All 225 businesses. 320 miles, 8 miles per day,” Garthe said.

He’s a thirty-three-time champion for selling the most pins at the National Cherry Festival. So far this year, he sold 5,137 pins and counting totaling up to over $25,685 just this year.


“When people come down to the festival, they don’t ask, where do I get a beer pin? Where do I get a pin? They say, Where’s Peter? Where’s the pin man? Everybody knows who Peter is. And he doesn’t just start at the festival. He’s been selling pins. You see him riding his bike for weeks, going to every business around the Traverse City area. So, everybody knows who Peter is. We love him here, and then the entire festival loves him. I think some people come down to the festival just to see him,” said National Cherry Festival Volunteer Coordinator, Whitney Amann.

If you haven’t had the chance to buy a pin from Peter Garthe, you still have some time. He says he plans to reach his goal of $1 million in sales by 2027. You’ll not only leave with your Cherry Festival pin, but also with a big smile on your face after meeting Peter.

“Come find me in the beer tent. Everybody knows me. A lot of Girls kiss me, I kiss them back,” Garthe said.

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