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Survival of the Fittest: Cherry Festival Edition

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    I often hear a grumble that starts very early in the month of July. You may have heard it too… it starts softly like a whisper, but quickly grows into a sound like thousands of angry locusts. Those aren’t locusts, my dear friends, those are the noises of Traverse City locals fearing the Cherry Festival. The crowds, traffic, and busyness that is found around every

    Beautiful Traverse City, mid Cherry Festival. Photo Courtesy of the National Cherry Festival
    Beautiful Traverse City, mid Cherry Festival. Photo Courtesy of the National Cherry Festival

    corner exasperates a fair amount of us. What is the best way to survive this madtown during the first week of July? My advice: Embrace it. Take it all in and enjoy what this festival does for our town. Read on for quick tips on how to enjoy Traverse City’s busiest season.

    BEER

    Drink it. Create a competition and see which local brewery produces the best cherry flavored beer. Right Brain Brewery’s Cherry Pie Whole, Bravo Zulu’s Acme Cherry Bomb, and Northport Brewing’s Metamora Cherry Saison, are all top contenders in this competition. The Cherry Festival’s beer tent may be crowded, but sitting adjacent to beautiful West Bay makes it difficult to feel anything but liberated.

    RUN

    The Festival of Races. Photo Courtesy of the National Cherry Festival
    The Festival of Races. Photo Courtesy of the National Cherry Festival

    No, not away. Run through the Cherry Festival while participating in one of the scenic Festival of Races. The 5K, 10K, 15K, and Half Marathon all end in the heart of downtown Traverse City, immediately preceding the start of the parade. At this point, the streets are lined with fans cheering the runners on and waiting for the parade to start. Every runner gets a free cup of cherries upon finishing; that’s worth a 13.1 mile run, right?

    FLY

    This can be accomplished in many ways. The airshow that occurs during the first weekend of the festival is always worth seeing. Get there early, lay in the sand of West Bay Beach, and watch the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform their astonishing in-air tricks. For a more interactive flight experience, skip on over to the midway. Carnival rides and bounce houses are abundant and extremely terrifying for those who love a good adrenaline scare.

    CRAFT

    The Arts and Crafts Fair is full of artisan goods and beautiful, handmade works. Beer Can airplanes, scenic oil paintings, handmade jewelry, and so much more line the streets, creating a full experience for everyone’s preferred taste in art. This is a tremendous way to see much of what the local talent consists of, all in the same location.

    The Cherry Festival may be busy, there is no escaping that. The best way to experience it is to leave your car at home and bicycle, walk, hop, etc. to everything it has to offer. The majority of the events are free, and there is literally something for everyone to enjoy. So get rid of those grumbles, friends, and embrace what this town is best known for.

    Click here to see more details about the Cherry Festival, and let us know how you plan to survive and thrive in the comments below!

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