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’ Club | June 29–July 6

Kids’ Club is a family friendly event providing free activities for children ages 2 to 12. Kids will find face painting, coloring pages, a cherry pit box and lots of Legos! In the play area kids can participate in several fun activities such as Cherry Yardzee, bean bag toss, a bowling alley, a cherry picking game as well as Cherry Jumbo Jenga. Come on in and enjoy yourselves!

Old Town Classic Car Cruise | June 28

Got a classic car, truck or motorcycle? Do you love warm weather blowing through your hair? Join us for a classic vehicle cruise! Classics to meet at Turtle Creek Casino on the Friday before Festival! Staging will begin at 5 pm and the cruise will leave at 6 pm.

U.S. Coast Guard Open Ramp | June 28

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City is once again hosting the National Cherry Festival Airshow aerial demonstration teams. All are invited to come out and meet members of your local Coast Guard as well as the other demonstration teams participating in this year’s exciting Cherry Festival Airshow!

Norte Kids Balance Bike Race | June 29

For ages 5 and under. On your mark, get set, go! to the Norte Clubhouse for a balance bike race on La Plaza (fancy word for grassy area). Registration is 9:00 am-9:45 a.m. Open course from 9:00 am-9:45 am for pre-ride and just for fun. Races 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Equipment will be available for out-of-town guests. No fee required. Only balance bikes are allowed on this super fun course.

Air Show | June 29-30

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will take to the skies opening weekend June 29thand 30th. The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, four civilians and more than 100 enlisted personnel performing in almost 30 job specialties.

TC Swing! | June 30 – July 6

Join Traverse City’s own TC Swing Club as you dance the night way! Learn to swing dance or show your skills during this dance party. Open to all ages, skills and ability levels. A beginner’s lesson will begin at 7:45 pm.

Kids Cherry Teddy Bear Tea | July 1

It’s Teddy Bear Tea Time at the National Cherry Festival! Calling all kids and teddy bear companions! Bring your favorite bear and blanket for a fun filled afternoon in the park. Enjoy story telling, making a teddy bear craft, and of course an afternoon tea party with other teddy bears and kids. Parents are welcome.

Family Sand Sculpture Contest | June 30

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 Fun & Games featuring the Bubble Gum Blow | July 4

A morning of games, activities, arts and crafts for children 5 to 12 years old, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.. Kids will enjoy face painting, tennis workshop, numerous games, and more! No fee required.

Orchard Tour & More | July 1-5

The National Cherry Festival and Michigan State University Extension invite you to escape to a 100 acre research farm in the heart of “Cherry Country”. Visit a productive orchard in beautiful Leelanau County, where fruit and festival come together at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station operated by Michigan State University. In addition to the guided orchard tours, there are exhibits and samples of the newest cherry products and technology inside the station. There are all sorts of “cherry” fun for the kids, including a 4-H petting zoo, kid’s crafts and activities, and many more!

Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest | July 2–6

The Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest is yummy family favorite that all children enjoy. See which kiddos join the clean plate club! Age classifications from pre-school to 12 years old. Contest starts at 1:00 pm with the youngest contestants and goes until all age groups are complete. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register.

Kids Turtle Race | July 1

A competitive event for kids, ages 3 to 12, to race their turtle. Bring your own special turtle or borrow one of ours to complete in the race. Registrations begins at 2:30pm. No Fee required

Photo by National Cherry Festival

Kids Pet Show | July 2

One of the most popular kids events with registration from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Entries are open to “Live” pets, and categories include Ugliest Mutt, Best Dressed Pet, Most Unusual Pet, Fat Cat, Pet & Owner Look Alike, and Best Dressed Ensemble. Event is open to kids 3 – 12 yrs old. Animals must be under control by the participant. No fee required.

Click the cover for travel tips, best restaurants, beaches & more in the FREE Traverse City Vacation Guide!

[publication mode=”thumb” name=”vg-traverse” align=”center” link=”viewnow”]

National Cherry Festival

Photo(s) by Morgan Taylor