The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City is one of the premiere festivals in the country and a crown jewel of Michigan festivals, built around Northern Michigan’s reign as the Cherry Capital of the World. The National Cherry Festival started in 1926 and today hosts more that 150 events and activities, 85% of which are free, many of which take place in downtown Traverse City and on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay. A highlight many years is an air show performed by the Blue Angels.

Events for kids include cherry pie eating, turtle races, a pet show, a kids parade and many more. The Cherry Festival’s special kids event is unique in the Midwest, providing mentally and physically challenged kids with all kids of activities including Elephant Laura rides and a fun and games program. Seniors find golf events, bowling, Euchre and more at the Festival, while families take part in the Family Car and Truck Show, three parades, the Cherries Grand Buffet and the Midway.

The National Cherry Festival has an entertainment stage with music concerts, the Cherry Farm Market, beer and wine tents and a food and beverage section that features local restaurants and foods.

The National Cherry Festival takes place in early July each year, culminating with the crowning of the cherry queen and the Cherry Royale Parade.

For more information about Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival, visit or  call (231) 947-4230 or (800) 968-3380.

Check out our the MyNorth Cherries page for a complete National Cherry Festival calendar, cherry recipes, news and Northern Michigan farmstands.