Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival hosts lots of free events for the entire family to enjoy. Whether it’s making new friends at Clinch Park, attending the famous air show, or competing in a family sand sculpture contest, there’s no way you’ll run out of things to do.
Kids ages 2–12 can gather at Clinch Park for games like Cherry Yardzee, a beanbag toss, a bowling alley, and Cherry Jumbo Jenga from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. each day. Face painting, coloring pages, a cherry pit box, and lots of Legos are also set up for your kids to enjoy.
Turtle Creek Casino will be hosting the Old Town Classic Car Cruise from 5–8 p.m. Bring your classic vehicle and cruise with likeminded people. Staging begins at 5 p.m. and engines start at 6 p.m.!
The USCG air station in Traverse City is hosting an open ramp from 5:30–8 p.m. Meet members of your local Coast Guard and the festival’s aerial demonstration teams during this free event!
Ready, set, go! Kids ages 5 and under are invited to race at the Norte Clubhouse (balance bikes only—equipment available for out-of-town guests). Races are from 10–11:30 a.m., but remember to register beforehand starting at 9 a.m. An open course and pre-ride fun will also be available starting at 9 a.m. Free!
The State Theater presents a free matinee of Peter Rabbit. The show starts at 10 a.m. Watch how Peter Rabbit and his three sisters—Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-Tail—enjoy spending their days in Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden. When one of McGregor’s relatives suddenly moves in, he’s less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home. A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme …
The famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels take to the skies above West Grand Traverse Bay. Watch from three different locations from around 1–4 p.m. each day: Clinch Park, the Open Space, and the Traverse City West End Park Beach Volleyball Courts on Grandview Parkway.
Traverse City’s own TC Swing Club will be hosting a dance party at Clinch Park. Learn some new moves or show off old tricks from 7:30–10 p.m. A beginner’s lesson will be held each night at 7:45 p.m.
Bring your favorite bear and blanket for a fun-filled afternoon in the park from 3:30–5 p.m. Storytelling, teddy bear crafts, and an afternoon tea party await. Parents are welcome. F & M Park is located at the corner of Railroad and Washington streets.
The Senior Center Beach offers a sand sculpture event for groups, families, and everyone else ages 13 and up. From 6–9 p.m., use food coloring and items found on the beach to create your own sand sculpture! Make sure to register on site before the event. Free!
Kids gather to compete at F & M Park at Railroad & Washington streets to see who can blow the biggest bubble. From 10 a.m.–12 p.m., kids ages 4–12 are welcome to join in. Free registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Prizes for all attendees!
Michigan State University Extension’s 100-acre research farm is open for your family to explore from 10 a.m.–1 p.m.! The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station through the MSU extension is excited to give orchard tours and samples of the newest cherry products. Learn more about the Cherry Capital of the world from behind the scenes! The shuttle to Orchard Tour & More will depart every half hour from 9:30–11:30 a.m. from Traverse City Tourism (101 W Grandview Pkwy.) Monday through Friday.
A family favorite, the pie eating contest will take place from 1–3 p.m. Kids ages pre-school to 12 years old qualify. Meet at F & M Park at Railroad and Washington Streets, and let the pie eating begin!
At 3 p.m., kids ages 3–12 are invited to race their turtles. Bring your own or borrow one of ours! Free registration opens at 2:30 p.m. Meet at F & M Park.
With categories like Ugliest Mutt, Best Dressed Pet, Most Unusual Pet, Fat Cat, Pet & Owner Look Alike, and Best Dressed Ensemble, the Kids Pet Show is one of the most popular events at the Cherry Fest! Kids 3–12 years old are welcome to participate. Registration opens at 9 a.m. on July at F & M Park. The show begins at 10 a.m.
From 9–4 p.m., head to the Pepsi Bay Side Music Stage for Heritage Day celebrations! At noon, a Native American Pow Wow Dance will be showcased on the stage. The rest of the day features various exhibits displaying handmade crafts from the region’s Native American communities and other fun events.
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