Picture of Cherries for the Cherry Festival Bay Harbor

There is nothing like a summer in Michigan where the weather feels just right, and the surrounding environment is stunning enough to stop you in your tracks. One of the most popular summer events just a short distance from Bay Harbor is the National Cherry Festival. After a year of social distancing, this year’s Festival is eagerly anticipated. Over 150 activities and events allow locals to show off their cherry pride including turtle races, pit-spitting, and pie-eating contests. The Festival runs from July 3rd – July 10th, so now is the time to plan your trip to the Bay Harbor area.

The staff and volunteers have closely evaluated each event on the regular schedule to provide the community with events that take into consideration the health and safety of attendees and locals. Events you will find on this year’s calendar include virtual events (such as the Porch Parade and GT Pie Company’s Virtual Make & Bake), fitness events (such as Zumba, Yoga, Cherry Pie Bike Ride, Meijer Festival of Race presented by Cherry Bay Orchards) and events at the Open Space (such as the Food Court and Beer Tent). In addition, the NCF is also working on relocating some other events to allow people to spread out and socially distance. These include the Arts & Crafts Show and the Old Town Car Show which will take place at the Grand Traverse Commons.

Here are 4 tips for planning your visit to the National Cherry Festival.

Where to Park

Plan on arriving in Traverse City early, approximately by 9:30 a.m. to park in the enclosed parking garage located on Front Street. There is a $15 fee for convenient parking and easy access so you can enjoy your day as soon as you find a spot. Park your car, smile wide, and start your cherry-loving day! See here for maps of available parking and the Festival location.

What to Bring

For the average cherry-viewer, it is recommended to bring a small backpack with necessities like water, sunscreen, and a hat. It is also convenient to carry cash for garage parking, booths within the festival, and, if you’re up for it, a pleasant kayak ride. For the explorer, bikes are welcomed, with free bike valet, and is a great way to navigate around the Festival. There will be local booths with food, swag, and lots of cherry history throughout the venue, so expect to leave with more than you came in with.

What to Do

There are a plethora of exhilarating activities to do while exploring this cherry extravaganza. To start your day, you can stroll along the beach or rent kayaks for a quick venture on the water while the kids play in the water fountain on location. Then you can saunter around the downtown area before making your way into the main event. Once inside, cherries will surround you as Michigan’s “pure” local agriculture is celebrated in traditional glee. Make sure you catch some of the fun races and parades happening throughout the week. From rides to booths to souvenir tents offering everything cherry, you won’t run out of sweet things to do.

Take the Shuttles

In addition to driving or biking, there is also the convenient option of taking the Bayline shuttle. It runs from morning to mid-afternoon every 15 minutes during this time of year for a relaxing trip to a day of fun. You can catch the shuttle at Woodland Creek (East), Cherry Lot at Northwestern Michigan College (Central), and Meijer (West) Parking Lot across from the Car Wash. The shuttles from the west stop at State St & Union St. Shuttles coming from the east stop at Front St & Union St.

With a little planning, your visit to the National Cherry Festival will be eventful and one to remember. For more specific information, check out the National Cherry Festival’s official website.

The Cherry Festival is an excellent day trip for residents and visitors of Bay Harbor, a coastal resort and golf community that offers a lifestyle like no other. Encompassing 5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Bay Harbor is home to the area’s most cherished resort community. Families often enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing off the shores of Lake Michigan or walking or biking along the Little Traverse Wheelway. The Bay Harbor Golf Club has been called “The Pebble Beach of the Midwest” and the Bay Harbor Yacht Club is known as the social centerpiece of the entire community. The Village at Bay Harbor offers lots of options for unique shopping and delicious dining. Residents here enjoy life to its fullest. The coolest thing about this place is that the fun doesn’t have to end when the day does. Bay Harbor makes for a great place to stay a day, a week, or a lifetime.

Bay Harbor Yacht Club has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar transformation and it’s being unveiled this summer. This renovation brings a state-of-the-art Wellness Center, Relaxation Spa, full Aquatics Center, and upgrades to the member dining experience making this cherished lifestyle even more spectacular. There is so much interest in Bay Harbor that real estate inventories are very low. Joining Bay Harbor Yacht Club has become a great way for potential homebuyers to enjoy the lifestyle and stay updated on the newest listings. A great way to move to the top of the waiting list is to own a home at Bay Harbor.

For those who want to visit and explore the possibility of ownership and membership, two outstanding hotel options are available within Bay Harbor. Check out the Inn at Bay Harbor and the Village Suites Bay Harbor and start planning your dream. Visit ExploreBayHarbor.com to learn more about the local real estate opportunities and becoming a Bay Harbor neighbor.

No matter how long you stay, you’ll wish it could be longer. It’s not too late to plan your summer adventure today by requesting a complimentary copy of the Explore Bay Harbor magazine. Through its pages, you’ll find information on the area, more local events, and tips for planning your trip. Go to ExploreBayHarbor.com to find out more!

The cherry has served as a symbol of Michigan’s economy and culture ever since French settlers planted cherry seeds along the St. Lawrence River. From there on, when America needed tart cherries for their pies, jams, and meats, they would turn to Michigan. The cherry had become so important to Michigan’s economy that in 1910, farmers who grew cherries in the Grand Traverse area had taken to performing a ‘blessing of the blossoms’ around May. Give or take about 90 years, and this ceremony became what we recognize today as North Michigan’s National Cherry Festival. Running from June 29th to July 6th and held in Traverse City, Michigan, this festival is jam packed (if you’ll pardon the pun) with the best of the history, culture, and cherries that make Northern Michigan what it is today.

We can’t mention a cherry festival without talking about food, and boy, does this festival aim to please. North Michigan’s National Cherry Festival brings in chefs, bakers, and candy makers who know how to use the sweet-yet-tart fruit’s unique flavor to bring you some of the best bites in the state. On June 29th, chow down for a cause at the Very Cherry Flying Pancake Breakfast, where the pancakes soar through the air like trapeze artists. The admission price you pay to enjoy your flapjacks helps support the Kevin Copeland Memorial Scholarship, so you can pour on the extra cherry sauce without guilt. It’s not the only way to enjoy the eats at the festival – running throughout the entire festival, the Cherry Farmer’s Market hosts some of the most beloved producers of cherry products, including Six Lugs, Deering’s, and Naturally Nutty. If there’s a place at the cherry festival to grab your jams, sauces, and snacks, this is it!

The National Cherry Festival isn’t known just for its great food – it’s also well recognized for the amazing experiences that you can have there, too. The Arnold Amusement Midway provides all of the excitement and fun that you can expect from North Michigan’s National Cherry Festival, with everything from Ferris wheels to carnival games. The festival is also known for its air show, which shows off stunts and spectacles performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. Finally, families can enjoy not one, but three parades that the National Cherry Festival hosts. Make your pick and attend the Junior Royale parade, the DTE Energy Foundation Cherry Royale Parade, or the Consumers Energy Heritage Parade presented by Hagerty. Better yet, make a plan to do all three of them!

With so much to do, it’s a blessing that the National Cherry Festival runs for so long. That means that you can work in everything that you want to do, while enjoying the pure Michigan landscape that surrounds you. Stay close to the festival so that you don’t miss a thing, or stay close to Michigan’s nature, when you stay at Bay Harbor. Whether you’re staying for only a short while or for the whole summer, Bay Harbor has a way of making itself your home away from home.

Located right in the heart of the action is Bay Harbor, a coastal resort and golf community that offers a lifestyle like no other.  Encompassing five miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Bay Harbor is home to the area’s best amenities and lifestyles. Families often enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing off the shores of Lake Michigan or walking or biking along the Little Traverse Wheelway.  The Bay Harbor Golf Club has been called “The Pebble Beach of the Midwest” and the Bay Harbor Yacht Club is known as the social centerpiece of the entire community. The Village at Bay Harbor offers lots of options for unique shopping and delicious dining. Residents here enjoy life to its fullest.

The coolest thing about this place is that the fun doesn’t have to end when the day does. Bay Harbor makes for a great place to stay a day, a week, or a lifetime. With more than 30 neighborhoods, Bay Harbor offers a wide array of homes and a price range to match your lifestyle.

No matter how long you stay, you’ll wish it could be longer. It’s not too late to plan your summer adventure today by requesting a complimentary copy of Explore Bay Harbor magazine. Through its pages, you’ll find information on the area, more local events and tips for planning your trip.