National Cherry Festival

July 4th to 11th, 2015

Traverse City, MI

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Festival History

  • Sometime around 1910, cherry growers in the Grand Traverse area began to hold informal “blessing of the blossoms” ceremonies each year at blossom time in May.
  • The “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” began on May 22, 1925 when Traverse City businesses partnered with the local cherry farmers to promote the growing industry.
  • In 1926, Hawkins Bakery in Traverse City baked a huge cherry pie and presented it to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. The pie, being three feet in diameter and containing more than 5,000 cherries, had to be loaded into a car through the windshield and into the back seat.
  • The 1929 festival was so successful that General Chairman Larry Larsen and his committee decided to make the 1930 Festival a three-day affair. President Herbert Hoover attended the opening day ceremonies.
  • In 1931 the Michigan state legislature passed a resolution making the Cherry Festival a national celebration. To celebrate, seven ships of the US Navy Great Lakes training fleet arrived in Traverse City and three companies of US Navy sailors paraded through the streets.
  • The National Cherry Festival was suspended during the World War II (1942-47), but it has been held continuously every year since. 1946 was considered too soon after the War, and in 1947 Traverse City celebrated its Centennial; so the National Cherry Festival was postponed until 1948.
  • In 1964 the Cherry Festival Committee voted to expand the Festival to a five-day celebration. The week of July 6 was proclaimed as “National Cherry Festival Week.”
  • The National Cherry Festival officially became a week-long celebration in 1968.
  • The Cherry Royale Parade broke the all-time record in 1975, boasting 180 entries and attended by over 300,000 people. President Gerald Ford, a Michigan native and former U.S. Senator, led the parade as Grand Marshall.
  • In 1978 the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed for the first time. Five T-38 fighters dazzled the crowd gathered at the beaches with acrobatic feats and heart-stopping maneuvers.

  • The National Cherry Festival set a world record by baking the world's largest cherry pie on July 25, 1987. The pie was 17 ft 6 in and weighed in at 28,350 pounds.


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