The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 on Ridgewood Farm on Old Mission Peninsula. Much of the cherry production is concentrated in Michigan and the Northwest. Michigan grows about 75 percent of the tart cherry crop.
Photo courtesy of Chris Arace
The Grand Traverse Region, known for its world-record tart cherry harvest, bursts with visitors each year during the National Cherry Festival, named one of USA Today's top ten annual festivals. Each day festival goers savor the flavor of cherries along with parades, family and kids events and entertainment. In all, there are more than 150 events along the shores of Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay.
During this year's festival, scheduled for July 4-11, 2015, more than 500,000 people are expected to attend this eight-day celebration of the tart cherry. There truly is something for everyone. Car fanatics can explore the classic vehicle show, while golfers try their luck at the million dollar hole-in-one contest. Indulge in a pie eating contest, or get competitive at the beach volleyball tournament. Kids will enjoy days of competition with big wheel races, and cherry pit spitting and cherry pie eating contests.
And to add to the adrenalin rush, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline this year's 89th national festival.
While you’re at the festival, enjoy the rich blend of adventure and relaxation in Traverse City. Known for its 180 miles of sugar-sand Lake Michigan shoreline, Traverse City is also home to award-winning wineries, microbreweries and championship golf courses. Climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes and see why Good Morning America viewers named it the Most Beautiful Place in America. Explore the wine trails of Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas or stroll the town's unique shops and boutiques.
For more information on the National Cherry Festival click here.
With over 150 breweries and brewpubs across the state, Michigan has the perfect pour for those looking to expand their horizons and savor every sip.
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