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Michigan cherries arrive in time for early festival

By Ellen Creager
Detroit Free Press

The cherries are cooperating this year and should be coming into their scarlet glory to coincide with the 87th National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich., June 29-July 6.

The festival is about a week earlier than usual to overlap with the Fourth of July holiday, said executive director Trevor Tkach.

The only thing missing this year? The Navy’s Blue Angels air show. They’ve been grounded due to federal sequester budget cuts.

Instead, expect two daredevil air shows June 29 over Grand Traverse Bay, including a night-time illuminated aerobatic display, featuring skills of Team AeroShell, Team Aerodynamix and pilots Matt Younkin and Kevin Copeland.

The cherry festival is one of the most popular events in Michigan. Featuring everything from cherry pit spits to cherry pancakes, it also will have a cherry queen, two parades, races, an arts and crafts show and more. Musical acts include Styx, Foreigner, Aaron Tippin, a Beatles tribute band and a Simon & Garfunkel tribute band.

Last year, 80 to 90 percent of the cherry crop was lost due to bad weather and the festival had to import cherries from Washington state. This year, sweet and tart cherries are so far doing well, according to a report by the Michigan State University extension service.

For festival schedule and details: www.cherryfestival.org.

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