5 Ways to Celebrate the National Cherry Festival at Home

The National Cherry Festival may be postponed until 2021, but that doesn’t mean the cherry-loving team isn’t celebrating. Check out these amazing virtual activities and community events.

1. Very Cherry Porch Parade

During what would have been the National Cherry Festival Week (July 4–11), members of the community will be celebrating by decorating their porch, yard or window. The theme is, of course, cherries and it’s free to participate.

The last day to register your porch is Thursday, July 2. The porch parade homes will be listed on the National Cherry Festival website on Friday, July 3 so you can plan your walking or driving route. Register and find more information here.

There will be a National Cherry Festival VIP Procession at a date still to be determined. Some very special guests will be visiting the neighborhoods with the most decorated porches.

Share your decorations and porches by tagging @cherryfestival on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or using one of the following hashtags #VeryCherryPorchParade #PorchParade #CherryRoyale #JuniorCherries #CherriesAtNight.

2. Grand Traverse Pie Company Virtual Make & Bake

On July 9, bake with the pie pros at Grand Traverse Pie Company (from your home kitchen!). Registration for a free pie kit is now closed, but you can still buy a pie kit at your local GT Pie. Pick up your kit July 7–8 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Then tune in on the National Cherry Festival Facebook page on July 9 at 1 p.m. to watch the live video and follow along with GT Pie’s fabulous bakers. Find out more here.

3. Michigan Harvest Virtual Run Series

The Michigan Harvest Virtual Run Series is comprised of four races of varying distances timed to highlight the harvest of crops that are a large part of Michigan’s agricultural community. The Cherry Run will take place from July 15 to July 31 and features a 5k. Apple Dash participants can choose between a 5k or 10k option and run this virtual race from August 1 to August 31. In September, experience the hops harvest during the Hop Trot—there will be a 5k or 15k option. The Grape Stomp concludes the series with 5k and half marathon options, offering suggested courses with views of Michigan’s vineyards.

Register for the races a la carte or choose to participate in the Harvest Challenge, a compilation of all the races. Each individual race participant will receive a T-shirt themed for their race, a finisher’s pin and other goodies. Harvest Challenge participants will receive a Finisher’s Medal, a charm for each race and a special challenge-only tee plus other race bag goodies. In addition, each participant who logs their VR time will be eligible for a door prize. Door prizes will be drawn one week after the conclusion of each race.

As part of The Festival Foundation’s commitment to helping preserve the land in the Grand Traverse Region, the Foundation will be collecting donations for the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. GTRLC has preserved thousands of acres, many containing farms, nature areas and trails that you may choose to run on during this virtual series. The goal is to raise $10,000. This goal can be reached if every participant makes a minimum $3 donation.

Register for a race, or find more information here.

4. Go-For-The-Gold Commemorative Pins

Go-for-the-Gold 2020 pins will be sold starting in early July. Per the raffle license (R58247), pins can only be sold over the phone or in person. Fill out this form and Cherry Festival staff will contact you when the pins are ready. 2020 pins will allow entrance into the 2021 beer tent.

5. Visit a U-Pick Cherry Orchard

There’s nothing better than just-picked cherries. Use this U-Pick guide to find an orchard near you. Then, once you’ve got a bucket full of cherries, head home to try these recipes:

Be a pro cherry pit spitter. Yes, it’s a thing. The world record for the farthest cherry pit spit is a jaw-dropping 93 feet 6.5 inches. Start practicing at home for next year’s competition at the 2021 National Cherry Festival. Hint: The pros say it’s all in how you curl your tongue.