Posted by: Kath Usitalo | February 4, 2010

Cherry Interesting

Ornament we received as gift

Lucky for Michigan, young George Washington never visited the Grand Traverse region with his hatchet or this might not be the top cherry producing state in the nation.

Truth be told, cherries didn’t arrive in the area until 1852, when a Presbyterian missionary planted trees on Old Mission Peninsula. Commercial production took off in the early 1900s, with orchards stretching along Lake Michigan between Elk Rapids and Benton Harbor.

Roadside cherry stand on Old Mission Peninsula

Michigan grows almost 75 % of the country’s tart cherry crop, and about 20% of the sweet cherries. That’s why this is the home of the National Cherry Festival held each July in the Cherry Capital, Traverse City.

Four years ago the local folks decided that if one cherry festival is good, two must be better, and launched the Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest. This year’s Presidents Day Weekend event begins Friday, February 12 and concludes Monday the 15th with a President Look-Alike Contest and Parade. Headquarters is Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, with activities scattered across the area.

It’s a winter celebration with wacky and traditional activities for the whole family including snowshoe races, dog sled demonstrations, Snow Golf Tournament, chili cook-off, sleigh rides, carnival rides and a kid’s biathlon combining cross-country ski race with paintball guns in lieu of rifles. Not to mention the kid’s frozen fish toss, the frozen bed race, frozen pit spit and brain freeze contests. You get the idea: dress warm.

If you plan to attend make your reservations early because Traverse City will also be hopping with the Winter Microbrew & Music Festival and North American VASA cross-country ski event. And, of course, Sunday is Valentine’s Day.

Find more event information and accommodations at the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site.



  1. huh? heehee

  2. much better, Kath 🙂 Have a great weekend

  3. Fun!

  4. You are making me long for cherries, Kath!

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