Many people might be surprised to learn that Michigan ranks first in the U.S. production of Montmorency tart cherries. That’s reason enough to celebrate, right? The 91st Annual National Cherry Festival kicks off Friday, June 30, 2017 through Saturday, July 8 in the Cherry Capital of the World, Michigan’s very own Traverse City. Attracting more than 500,000 visitors every year from across the country, the festival is a celebration of cherries, tourism and community involvement. To continue these efforts and inspire individuals and families to strengthen their health and connection with the state of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is serving as this year’s entertainment sponsor. Blue Cross has been an annual sponsor since 1996. Spanning an eight-day period, visitors have the opportunity to take part in over 150 events and activities for every age, and the best part is, 85 percent of the events are free. Individuals and couples can enjoy events such as classic car shows and cherry pie eating contests. Families can keep younger and older children busy with activities like firework shows, cherry pie make and bakes, and outdoor movie screenings. There are also ways to enjoy other parts of the city as well, such as U-Pick farms and orchards that offer cherry picking. The full list of events and activities can be found on the festival’s event calendar.
Photo Courtesy of The National Cherry Festival Lucky visitors might even get to meet Super Cherry, the festival’s official mascot. Super Cherry works to educate people on all things cherries, especially the health benefits and delicious taste of different varieties. In addition to being a quick, tasty snack, cherries provide a long list of health benefits. These often include promoting a better night’s sleep, reducing arthritis inflammation and heart disease, improving skin and decreasing belly fat, among others. At the Bay Side Music Stage presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, musicians and other acts will perform throughout the week. Anticipated appearances include shows from Shinedown, REO Speedwagon, Cole Swindell, truTV Impractial Jokers and more. Tickets for these shows must be purchased online in-advance. For more information or to volunteer for an event, visit the National Cherry Festival website. Photo Credit: Isabel Eyre