2021 National Cherry Festival Guide: Traverse City Michigan (+Things to Do, Event Schedule, Maps, Parking and Best Hotels)

Written by Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan


The Traverse City National Cherry Festival is July 3-10, 2021! 

This highly anticipated festival is one of Michigan's biggest festivals!  Grab our FREE interactive map and event guide!  Plan your trip in a glance!

More than 500,000 people flock to the Traverse City for the Festival every year! We love watching the thrilling airshow, indulging in a delicious pancake breakfast, waving at the passing colorful floats during the famous parades, shopping at the farmers markets, rockin' at the concerts, cheering on the silly turtle races and of course, enjoying every minute of CHERRY EVERYTHING!

To help plan your trip, we developed a Free Interactive Map!


Michigan Cherry Festival Tips and Know Before You Go


We love the huge variety of vendors, souvenir shops and food choices at the Traverse City Cherry Festival.  You are bound to find SOMETHING cherry that you love! I grabbed a cute cherry tank top with cherry blossoms and some cherry marinade!  

Here is a great list of Michigan Cherry Festival Know Before You Go stuff, like parking, what to bring, things to see and fun for the whole family.

Where is the Michigan Cherry Festival in Michigan? Traverse City Michigan at Open Space Park. 

Will There be an Air Show in 2021 at the Michigan Cherry Festival?

The National Cherry Festival will not be hosting an Air Show in 2021.We are looking forward to welcoming back the National Cherry Festival Air Show in 2022.

Will there be any concerts in 2021?

Bay Side Music Stage Concert series will not take place in 2021. They will return in July 2022.

Where to Park at the Traverse City National Cherry Festival


If you arrive at the festival early, you can get parking in the downtown Hardy parking garage (Park and E. State) shown on the map above and also the interactive map.

There is also a shuttle (see below).

Is there a Shuttle at the National Cherry Festival?

The Bayline will run from 7am to 1am during the National Cherry Festival every 12-15 minutes. The best places to get on the shuttle is at Woodland Creek (East), Cherry Lot at Northwestern Michigan College (Central) and Meijer (West) Parking Lot adjacent to the Car Wash.

Shuttles coming from the west will drop you off at State St & Union St. Shuttles coming from the east will drop you off at Front St & Union St. 

Recommended National Cherry Festival Hotels in Traverse City Michigan - Where to Stay!


We recommend the Cherry Tree Inn as the rooms are lovely, the water views from your balcony is breathtaking and there's a private beach!  

Also, the Grand Beach Resort Hotel has a fabulous private beach, balconies, and very nice modern rooms. We love their indoor pool as Michigan weather can be questionable at times!  



The Ultimate Traverse City Cherry Festival Interactive Map Includes:

  • Locations of the Traverse City National Cherry Festival events so you can plan your day without missing anything!
  • The famous Cherry Festival Parade Routes so you can grab a great viewing spot! 2022
  • Awesome places to view the Thunderbirds (includes a classy restaurant rooftop!) 2022
  • Convenient hotels close to the action!
  • BONUS: Top 5 favorite things to do in Traverse City (just in case you get cherried out!!)


Traverse City National Cherry Festival Schedule of Events and Fun Things To Do!

July 2, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan

Friday, July 02, 2021

Old Town Classic Car Cruise, 5:00 PM Turtle Creek Casino.  If you own a classic car, truck or motorcycle you will love this classic vehicle cruise! Classics meet at Turtle Creek Casino on the Friday before Festival and staging will begin at 5 pm. The cruise will leave Turtle Creek Casino at 6 pm.

Saturday, July 3, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Saturday, July 3, 2021

Questions? Contact the cherry festival committee at 231.947.4230.

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Very Cherry Flying Pancake Breakfast, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Open Space Park. There is a Fee. 

Zumba! in the Bay Side, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM sessions at Open Space Park - Pre-registration required. 

Open Space Park (Main Festival Grounds),10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Main festival grounds located on West Grand Traverse Bay in the Open Space Park.

Grab a slice of Grand Traverse Cherry Pie with ice cream (yummy!), grab a meal from a local restaurant booth, shop everything Cherry at the Cherry Farmer's Market, and snag some awesome cherry shirts, purses and souvenirs!

Also there:

  • The Baby Comfort Station
  • First Aid Tent
  • Welcome Center
  • Box Office
  • Lost and Found 
  • Other Festival necessitates

Souvenir Tent 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park

Arnold Amusements Midway 12:00 p.m. - 10 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.


Traverse City National Cherry FestivalTraverse City National Cherry Festival

Sunday, July 4, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Questions? Contact the cherry festival committee at 231.947.4230.

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Yoga by the Bay, 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM, Open Space Park, fun for the whole family! All levels welcome to this FREE event.

Arts and Crafts Fair, 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM Grand Traverse Commons. Juried Arts and Crafts Fair in downtown Traverse City featuring more than 100 artists.

Festival Open Space Park 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park

Souvenir Tent 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Old Town Classic Car Show 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM Grand Traverse Commons. Must pre-register. Registration opens June 1, 2021. Wide range of cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles from across the Midwest. Hundreds of show-condition collector vehicles will be featured. Family friendly, local classic show.

Arnold Amusements Midway, 11:00 AM Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.

Family Sand Sculpture Contest 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Sunset Beach Park.  Ages 13 and up.  


Monday, July 5, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Monday, July 5, 2021

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Cherry Pie Bike Ride, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, F & M Park at Railroad & Washington Streets. Enjoy a very short, slow and fun summer bike ride on the neighborhood streets and trails of Traverse City that will end at the Open Space. Your reward? A Free Slice of Pie voucher from Grand Traverse Pie Company! How cool is that!?

Festival Open Space Park, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Souvenir Tent,10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Arnold Amusements Midway, 12:00 p.m -10 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.


  • There is a free bike valet so you can ride your bike to the festival and park it without worry!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Senior Horseshoes, 9:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Senior Center.

Festival Open Space Park, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

National Cherry Festival Souvenir Tent,10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park. Great spot to get souveniers!

Arnold Amusements Midway, 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Senior Horseshoes, 9:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Senior Center.

Senior Shuffleboard, 9:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Senior Center.

Festival Open Space Park, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Great American Duck Race, 10 a.m., 12:00 p.m, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Open Space Park

National Cherry Festival Souvenir Tent,10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park. Great spot to get souvenirs!

Arnold Amusements Midway, 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.


Thursday, July 8, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Cherry Kids Fun Run, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Grand Traverse Civic Center

Open Space Park (Main Festival Grounds),10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Main festival grounds located on West Grand Traverse Bay in the Open Space Park.

Grab a slice of Grand Traverse Cherry Pie with ice cream (yummy!), grab a meal from a local restaurant booth, shop everything Cherry at the Cherry Farmer's Market, and snag some awesome cherry shirts, purses and souvenirs!

Stop into the Beer Tent for a beverage (make sure you have your Commemorative pin for entry)

Also there:

  • The Baby Comfort Station
  • First Aid Tent
  • Welcome Center
  • Box Office
  • Lost and Found 
  • Other Festival necessitates

Great American Duck Race - 10 a.m., 12:00 p.m, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Open Space Park

Souvenir Tent 10:00 AM - 10:30 PM Open Space Park

Ultimate Air Dogs: Come out to cheer on your favorite dog athletes! There will be almost 100 dogs this year! 11:00 a.m, 1:00 p.m, 3:00 p.m, 5:00 p.m.

Arnold Amusements Midway 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.


Friday, July 9, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Friday, July 9, 2021

Questions? Contact the cherry festival committee at 231.947.4230.

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Cherry Golf Scramble - 8:30 a.m. Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. 

Kids Sand Sculpture Contest - 9:00 a.m. Sunset Park Beach. Age divisions are ages 3 to 5 (9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.), Ages 6 to 8 (9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.), Ages 9 to 12 (10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.), Groups with ages 3 to 12 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Senior Horseshoes, 9:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Senior Center.

Senior Shuffleboard, 9:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Senior Center.

Festival Open Space Park, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Great American Duck Race - 10 a.m., 12:00 p.m, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Open Space Park

Ultimate Air Dogs: Come out to cheer on your favorite dog athletes! There will be almost 100 dogs this year! 11:00 a.m, 1:00 p.m, 3:00 p.m, 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. Pre-Register!

Open Space Park (Main Festival Grounds),10:00 AM - 11:00 PM Main festival grounds located on West Grand Traverse Bay in the Open Space Park.

Grab a slice of Grand Traverse Cherry Pie with ice cream (yummy!), grab a meal from a local restaurant booth, shop everything Cherry at the Cherry Farmer's Market, and snag some awesome cherry shirts, purses and souvenirs!

Watch buskers as they entertain, enjoy a lunch time music series at the Lay's Cherry Blast Stage, check out the Marina Drive attractions on your way to the famous Gibbyville. Stop into the Beer Tent for a beverage (make sure you have your Commemorative pin for entry)

Also there:

  • The Baby Comfort Station
  • First Aid Tent
  • Welcome Center
  • Box Office
  • Lost and Found 
  • Other Festival necessitates

Souvenir Tent,10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Open Space Park

Arnold Amusements Midway, 12:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.

Cherries Got Talent Finals - 2:00 p.m. Beer Tent. Come and watch the finalists perform.


Saturday, July 10, 2021 National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Go for the Gold! Pin Program,  Open Space Park - , Take home a festival keepsake! Commemorative pins are available for $5, with the possibility of winning one of the grand prizes. Commemorative pins will also be needed for entry into the beer tent.

Open Space Park (Main Festival Grounds),10:00 AM - 11:00 PM Main festival grounds located on West Grand Traverse Bay in the Open Space Park.

Grab a slice of Grand Traverse Cherry Pie with ice cream (yummy!), grab a meal from a local restaurant booth, shop everything Cherry at the Cherry Farmer's Market, and snag some awesome cherry shirts, purses and souvenirs!

Stop into the Beer Tent for a beverage (make sure you have your Commemorative pin for entry)

Also there:

  • The Baby Comfort Station
  • First Aid Tent
  • Welcome Center
  • Box Office
  • Lost and Found 
  • Other Festival necessitates

Great American Duck Race - 10 a.m., 1:00 p.m, 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Open Space Park

Souvenir Tent 10:00 AM - 10:30 PM Open Space Park

Ultimate Air Dogs: Come out to cheer on your favorite dog athletes! There will be almost 100 dogs this year! 10:00 a.m, 12:00 p.m, FINALS: 2:00 p.m

Arnold Amusements Midway 11:00 AM Corner of Grandview Parkway at Union Street.  Ride the Ferris Wheel for a great view of the festival, city and beach! Lots of rides and games! Fee for tickets and wristbands.

Beer Tent 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM Open Space Park (near the marina) Must be 21 to enter the tent and have a commemorative pin.

Semi-Finalists Drawing - "Go for the Gold" Pin Program. 3:00 p.m. Open Space Park.

Final Drawing - 

 "Go for the Gold" Pin Program. 7:00 p.m. Open Space Park.

Pin This Traverse City National Cherry Festival Page!

Grab Your Traverse City National Cherry Festival Interactive Map HERE!


Reference the 2021 Cherry Festival Schedule while utilizing our handy-dandy interactive map!  

  • Be sure to call 231.947.4230 or visit the Cherry Festival Organization page for more in-depth information, to answer any questions, to register for events, buy tickets or make reservations. 


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