The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City begins June 29. The weeklong festival is the perfect place for any foodie to visit. To explore all the good eats that the National Cherry Festival be sure to attend these events:
Cherry Pancake Breakfast (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.): Start your week at the Cherry Festival off by heading to the Festival Open Space Park North and feasting on a pancake breakfast sponsored by Molon Excavating, Country Fresh and Herkners Cherry Topping. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 12.
Kids’ Pie Eating Contest (2 p.m.): Give the little foodie in the family a chance to pig out on some delicious cherry pie. This event takes place at the Grand Traverse Mall Food Court and there is no registration or fee required. Age groups for the contest range from pre-school to 12 years old. And be sure to bring a camera to snap some photos of your little foodie covered in cherry pie filling.
Very Cherry Demo with Michelle White (1 p.m.):Learn how to create healthy meals infused with Northern Michigan’s favorite fruit, the cherry, from the founder Michelle’s Miracle Tart Cherry Concentrate.
Very Cherry Distinguished Senior Breakfast (9:00 a.m.): Start the day off by enjoying a delicious breakfast and great company at the Traverse City Elks Lodge on Bay Street. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Traverse City Senior Center at 231-922-4911. The fee for breakfast if $5 and the 2013 Distinguished Senior will be announced at the event.
Cherry Connection: Bringing Together Festival, Farm, and Fruit (10:00 a.m.-1 p.m. July 1-July 5): See where cherries are grown by heading to a 100-acre productive orchard operated by Michigan State University Extension. At the Cherry Connection event there will be guided orchard tours, exhibits and samples of the newest cherry products and technology from the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station. There will also be several cherry-themed activities for the children to enjoy, including a petting zoo, hands-on experiments, coloring contests and more. Shuttles to the farm from the Traverse City Visitor’s Center on Garland Street will run every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to noon each day of the event or the drive from the open space takes roughly 15 minutes.
Cherry Pins and Pizza (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.): Grab some family and friends and head to Lucky Jacks Bowling Alley on Garfield Avenue near South Airport Road for a fun afternoon of bowling and pizza. There is a fee for this event.
Kids’ Cherry Pie Eating Contest at F&M Park (July 1, 2 and 4 at 1 p.m.): In case you missed the pie eating contest on June 29, there are plenty of opportunities to compete in another one. Head over to F& M Park at Railroad and Washington Streets for another pie eating contest.
Adult Cherry Pie Eating Contest (July 1, 3 and 5 at 5 p.m.): Now it’s the adults’ turn to indulge in some cherry pie. The pie eating contest will take place at Lay’s Cherry Blast Stage at the Festival Open Space.
Intergenerational Picnic (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.): The Grand Traverse Pavilions will host and sponsor this event that is meant to bring different generations of families together to enjoy the National Cherry Festival. Tickets are needed for this event that will have food and entertainment
Cherries D’Vine (4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.): This culinary event will showcase two local fruits — the cherry and the grape. Local spirits, wines and beers will be paired with dishes created by local chefs and restaurants that feature the cherry. The event will be held at the NMC Hagerty Center and tickets can be purchased for $20.
Cherries Grand Buffet (12 p.m.): The NMC Hagerty Center Chef will prepare a buffet demonstrating ways to tie cherries into everyday dishes. Even the beverages will feature cherries. In addition to the delicious feast, there will also be entertainment at the buffet. Tickets for the 2013 National Cherry Festival Cherries Grand Buffet are $25 for adults and $20 for children under the age of 12.