Since 1925, the National Cherry Festival has been eight days of food, fun, family-friendly activities, and entertainment, all topped with a cherry of course. This event is a vibrant celebration that pays homage to our region's rich cherry-growing heritage.  

With over 100 events, it’s hard to pick just one to attend. From the premier performers rocking out on the Bayside Music Stage to Arnold's Amusements Midway at the corner of Grandview Parkway and Union Street, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  

Here are our top FIVE events to check out while you are here:

Cherry Festival Parade

One: Attend a Parade 

Enjoy not ONE but TWO amazing parades in downtown Traverse City. On July 4th at 6:30 PM watch the Consumers Energy Community Royale Parade down Front, Union, and Seventh Street. On July 6th starting at 11:15 AM, grab your seat for the DTE Energy Foundation Cherry Royale Parade on Front, Union, and Thirteenth Street. Join us in celebrating the final day of the National Cherry Festival with marching bands, Prince and Princess floats, and so much more! 

Two: Sign Up for a Race 

Lace up your running shoes and line up at the starting line for the Meijer Festival of Races! Racers of all ages can sign up for a 5K, 10K, or 15K. Participants get to run a course filled with beautiful views of the Grand Traverse Bay and ending with cheers of motivation from the crowds at the finish line in Downtown Traverse City.  

Meijer Festival of Races

Three: Dive into a slice of Cherry Pie 

The scent of freshly baked pies fills the air as a crowd forms to watch participants race to consume a cherry pie. The Cherry Pie Eating Contest is a family favorite event that can be enjoyed by kids and adults with contests all week long. Whether you sign up or stop by to watch, all that is left behind is a sea of empty pie plates and satisfied smiles. 

Four: Jump for joy for Man’s Best Friend 

Against the backdrop of the Grand Traverse Bay, watch as dogs of all shapes and sizes leap fearlessly into the air to fetch their favorite toy. When attending Ultimate Air Dogs, you will hold your breath and cheer as you see them splash into the water. This popular event brings crowds from all around to watch the highest jumps and the most impressive skills of agility.  

Five: Last Call for Pit Spitters 

The Cherry Pit Spitting Contest is a tradition like no other and brings crowds the moment they roll out the Pit Spit Mat. Step right up to give it a try or watch pits arc through the sky, landing with satisfying thuds as far the mat will take them.

National Cherry Festival - Traverse City Michigan

With all the cherry good fun you are going to have, you are bound to be hungry. Don’t worry we have you covered!  

Stop by the midway for your bucket of Gibby’s Fries or a smoked Turkey Leg. Or head over to the food court to try a dish from the local restaurants.  

Before leaving treat yourself to a cherry pie flurry or a piece of Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Signature Cherry Crumb Pie.  

Oh, and how could we forget! Grab some fresh cherries from a local family-owned farm to take for the ride home.