For the child, the National Cherry Festival provides heaps of Northern Michigan excitement in the form of contests, activities and shows. For the adult, the festival offers no less. Call up a babysitter and some friends, then check out these events, exclusive to the National Cherry Festival’s 21-and-over crowd.
July 1–8, noon–11 p.m.
Cool off with a cold one and enjoy views from “Traverse City’s Coolest Bar on the Bay!” You can choose from brands such as Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (Made with Michigan Cherries!), Miller Lite, Labatt Blue and Blue Light, along with local and regional wines! This year’s Festival Beer Tent will feature a “Pure Michigan” menu of craft beers and ciders. An entire tap trailer will be dedicated to showcasing Michigan’s talented brewers throughout the eight-day Festival.
July 1, 1–4 p.m.
An opening event that everyone will want to attend! Kick off the 91st National Cherry Festival with the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds, mircobrews, as well as the finest BBQ around! Watch the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds as they soar high over West Grand Traverse Bay, all while sipping on a cold brew and enjoying finger-lickin’-good BBQ!
July 1, 3, 5, 7, 6–7 p.m.
The tradition of the Cherry Pit Spit Contest continues! According to the Guinness Book of Records, the record distance is 95 feet and 6.5 inches (29.12 m). See if you can beat the record at the National Cherry Festival! Join the fun, trophies awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place, women’s and men’s. Register on site, just prior the to 6 p.m. contest. No fee required.
July 3–7, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Take a wine-tasting excursion through Northern Michigan Wine Country, a region quickly becoming known as a top wine destination. Discover breathtaking views and a vineyard picnic lunch while sipping local wines and chatting with the laid-back, down-to-earth winemakers who produce them.
July 3, 5, 7, 5–6 p.m.
Feel like a kid again and dive into a slice of cherry pie! The first one to finish their slice wins! Prizes awarded. Free registration will open 30 minutes prior to the event at the stage, no fee required.
July 4, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Don’t miss the first-ever Red, White & Indigo Blue, a strolling wine and food affair, showcasing wines reflective of the local terroir. You’ll be welcomed with a souvenir wine glass with sparkling wine from L Mawby Vineyards before making your way to seven wine stations. Each station features your choice of one of two wines paired with small-sized gourmet fare. The event takes place on Tuesday, July 4 at Hotel Indigo. Tickets, which are very limited, are $60.
July 5, 6–8 p.m.
Were you once National Cherry Festival Royalty (Queen, Court, Prince or Princess)? Are you a past President or Board member? Join us in preserving tradition and celebrating the past in the beer tent.
July 7, 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Ten games of bingo will be played with prizes awarded. Must be 50 and older. No reservations or fee required.
July 7, 7–9:30 p.m.
No reservations necessary, come and enjoy an evening of cards. Must be 50 and older. Prizes awarded to high and low finishers. Refreshments provided. Fee required. Please arrive 15 minutes early and plan on staying until the end of the tournament.