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It’s National Cherry Festival Time

By July 7, 2016Adventures

One of my favorite events is the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City and it is still happening right now. The Cherry festival opened on Friday July 1st and features fun activities scheduled through July 9th. I was able to enjoy the events this past Sunday which included the one day Arts & Crafts Fair.

IMG_2122The Arts & Craft Fair is a juried art show featuring over one hundred artists from the Midwest. It is located on Union Street in the heart of downtown Traverse City.  It was a hot day and it always feels warmer browsing the Art Fair due to the crowds. I highly recommend sun protection such as a hat and sunscreen when attending. Luckily, I remembered both this year!

The Art Fair showcased unique and local crafts, jewelry, pottery, attire, yard decor, furniture and fun Michigan themed treasures. In my experience, it is always a very crowded event and usually takes a couple hours to browse the vendors. Gucci & Tucker were glad to have their Dogger at the event and not have to worry about navigating the people.

IMG_2123This year, the selection of vendors was comparable in size to last year. I did find a few fun keepsakes such as homemade soap from multiple vendors (Wildflower Soapworks and Hearth & Harvest), a reversible hat as well as a festive July 4th inspired tank from Ellembee. My favorite treasure from this trip is a Michigan themed pillow for the camper from Makarios Decor.

IMG_2116I also collected a few business cards from vendors that had unique products for Christmas gift ideas. I enjoyed meeting Pamela and loved the jewelry by Mostly Maille. A cute artisan couple offered handcrafted journals with unique papers which you can find in their etsy shop GNorthern Journals.

IMG_2118After the art fair, we strolled around the festival grounds, watched the rides and visited the souvenir tent. The souvenir tent is open daily and had a lot of bargains this year so I recommend checking it out during your visit. I found a great Cherry Festival themed raincoat to stay in the camper for 50% off.  There was music playing in the background and you could have a picnic lunch and watch the ‘Flight Deck’ show as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels took to the skies. This is always a festival favorite and I highly recommend it!

If we had stayed into the evening, I would have enjoyed seeing Billy Idol in concert as I understand he does quite a show. My mother in law, Denise, Garrin and I all enjoyed some refreshments before heading home, however just a warning that the lines were quite busy for the fair food.

IMG_2120We had a great time attending the National Cherry Festival and there is still time for you to go this year. Here are some things to check out:

  • Cherry Sunrise Bike & Paddle: This is a three hour event starting with family friendly bike tour departing at 7:00 am daily. The adventure begins along the TART Trail and then heads to Medalie Island for refreshments. You then may kayak and paddle Boardman Lake & Boardman River. It concludes at West Grand Traverse Bay for the sunrise.
  • Ultimate Air Dog Show & Finals: Another festival favorite is watching the Air Dogs competition. It features nearly a hundred “dog athletes” and their trainers compete for advancement in the regional competition.
  • Cherry Bike, Kayak, Brewery & Craft Cocktail Tour: There are a couple tours daily to bike and paddle the area while visiting local business to sample brews & cocktails.
  • Cherry Idol Auditions & Finals: This years showcases the 6th annual competition that is broken into divisions of Adult (18 & up); Young Adult (15-17); Teen (12-14) and Youth (8-11). The auditions include a 90 second song acappella and finals feature a different song with background music.
  • Cherry Sunset Bike & Paddle: Guided tour with a 7:30 pm departure from The River TC for a quick walking tour to the Union Street Dam. Kayak & paddle down to the Boardman River to West Bay to enjoy the sunset.
  • Evening Concerts: Upcoming musical performers include The Accidentals & Cheap Trick with special guest star Kenny Olson.
  • Comedian Concert: Upcoming performer features the well known Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias.
  • Festival Fireworks: The finale to the festival includes fireworks over the Grand Traverse Bay. This event is scheduled on Saturday July 9th from 10:30-11:30 pm.
  • There are also classic movie showings, pie eating contests, ice cream socials, golf events, beer tent and more. You can check out schedule details here. Don’t miss this fun filled event!




Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.