Who’s ready for sun and excitement? We sure are, but if you’re not then you may want to stay home because the National Cherry Festival is almost back! With it comes the annual cacophony of parades, rides, picnics, concerts, and some weird type of fruit that everyone seems to be going on about.

If you don't visit every year you may end up a bit overwhelmed by the festival's event schedule. It’s hard not to be when you’re surrounded by all the contests, tents, vendors, entertainment and other such merriment, all filling the air with the scent of that weird fruit again. To help simplify that annual cacophony of fruit merriment – cherries, if you didn’t catch our drift – here are some ideas for however you’re planning to experience the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. 


For dates. Festivals are some of the best places to go on dates (not hinting at anything). The entire atmosphere is fun and exciting, and braving a roller coaster or watching the fireworks together is pretty special whether it’s your first date or your fiftieth anniversary. And the Cherry Festival has not only a daily amusement park and two different firework shows (one on the 4th of July and one as the Festival’s grand finale), but a multitude of other options for enjoying a day together. The first Saturday, for example, has a two-person beach volleyball tournament, a great way to work together and get some exercise – provided no one gets too competitive. There’s also the Cherry Pie Bike Ride, which features an easy and relaxing four-mile loop and even the chance to share a free slice of pie from the Grand Traverse Pie Company afterwards. 

For families. While family vacations are a great way to destress and reconnect, even the best of us can throw a bit of a tantrum when we don’t get our way sometimes (if you’ve ever skipped your morning coffee without pitching a fit, you’re lying). Leading around just one little munchkin or a small pack of them can prove pretty difficult, especially if everyone is hot and overwhelmed. But don’t worry, there are plenty of kids’ events to explore every day. For starters, the Kids’ Club takes place every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Clinch Park, and it is a fun event for kids aged 2 to 12 featuring face painting, story time, craft projects, a sand box and a water table. There’s also a Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest for children from pre-school up to 12 years old. It’s hard not to have a great time when a free slice of cherry pie is involved! Not to mention the Kid's Cherry Town Fun Night, which features many performers and hands-on activities that the whole family can enjoy together. And don’t forget the many picnics, parades, races and ice cream socials to stop by! Maybe afterwards the grownups will have time to sneak off to that beer tent. 

Pie Making at the National Cherry Festival

For seniors. Running around like maniacs and shoving as many cherries into our faces as possible is sometimes less preferred to nicer, quieter ways to enjoy the festival. In addition to all the fruit-flavored mayhem are more relaxing events including a Seniors’ Shuffleboard Tournament and Seniors Bingo. And if food is your thing, be sure to indulge at the Great American Picnic, where you can watch the Air Show, play games and enjoy a classic-style picnic lunch. 

For more events and things to do (yes, there's a lot more), you can visit the Cherry Festival's official website