June 30 - 7, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Festival?

June 30 to July 7, 2018

Where is the Festival located?

The Festival takes place in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan! Although many of the events take place at the Open Space (near the corner of Union Street and Grandview Parkway) there multiple locations across town.  Check the event calendar for specific locations. 

Where can I park?

Parking is located throughout downtown Traverse City and is managed by the City of Traverse City.  The City boosts several parking garages as well as street parking. For more information on parking in Traverse City, visit this website. The National Cherry Festival also offers free shuttle service in cooperation with Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA).

Is there a lost and found?

If you've misplaced an item, be sure to fill out a form on our lost and found page here.

Where can I pick up the Shuttle?

Each year, a few weeks before the Festival, BATA publishes the festival shuttle route.  Parking for the shuttle is located at Northwestern Michigan College and Thirbly Field (off of 14th Street).  The Shuttle drops of festival attendees at Garland street, across from the Open Space.  An 2017 schedule will be published here when it is available. 

Can I bike to the festival?

Yes, yes you can! We offer valet parking (sponsored by AAA and brought to you by Norte) located in the Open Space.

Where is the accessible parking located?

The National Cherry Festival reserves two parking lots for accessible parking.  One is located in Parking lot B (see City Parking lot map here) and the other is the public parking at the Clinch Park Marina. To enter the Marina parking lot, you must pass through the permit parking area. As these spots fill up fast, we also offer an accessible location that will allow the driver to drop off passengers and then park off site.  That location will be available when the 2017 maps are released and posted here.


When are you open?

The office is open regular business hours during the year.  Since our hours do fluctuate a little, check out our contact us page for hour changes.  During Festival Week, the Festival Open Space is open from 10 am to 10pm daily!  The Midway (operated by Arnold Amusements) is open from 11 am to Midnight.

How much does it cost?

We have over 150 events and 85% of those events are free! Check out our event calendar to see if your event has a cost associated with it.

Are dogs (or other animals) allowed?

Only service animals are allowed at the National Cherry Festival.  However, we do have a few pet friendly events, include the Kids Pet Show and Ultimate Airdogs.

Memories of Marching bands! #cherryfestival #traversecity #puremichigan #tcmi #parade #cherryparade

A photo posted by National Cherry Festival (@cherryfestival) on

What route does the parade take?

For information on the parade routes click here

What is the Chair Policy for the Parade Routes?

2017 Chair Policy will be posted here when it is available. 

Is there accessible seating for the Parades?

Yes. Please check the Parade map for the location of the accessible seating. 

What do I need to do to be a street vendor during the parade?

This opportunity is only open to children.  If your child would like information on selling along the parade route, please click here.  


What boater information do I need to know?

Safety is the primary concern of the National Cherry Festival, United States Coast Guard and the Grand Traverse Veterans Coalition.  The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Marine Sector, in cooperation with the FAA, has issued a Marine Permit that authorizes restrictions on boating during these events.  We will make every effort to minimize any inconvenience these restrictions may cause you.

Patrol vessels from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Grand Traverse County Sheriff Marine Patrol, Leelanau County Sheriff Marine Patrol, and Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol and Power Squadron will enforce restricted areas.

The timeframe for these restrictions may change slightly from these published times.  Please listen for all Notice to Mariners broadcasts from the U.S. Coast Guard on Channel 16.

We appreciate your cooperation and hope you enjoy these events from your boat. 

The Federal Aviation Administration requires areas under an aerobatic box to be clear of all spectators.  These restrictions protect the spectators and help eliminate distractions to the air show performers.  The restricted area will be marked by orange and white buoys and will be patrolled.  The patrol vessels will begin to move boaters out of the area beginning at approximately 11:30 am and we anticipate the area to be closed to all vessels from 12:30 p.m. until about 3:30 p.m. each day.  This restriction includes transiting vessels.  If you intend to move north or south of the restricted area you must be in position before 12:30 p.m. and will not be able to return until after 3:30 p.m.  Please listen to Notice to Mariner broadcasts concerning the restrictions on channel 16.

Boater Info

Amazing! Photo Credit: Adam Glowaski #PureMichigan #USNavy #blueangels #CherryFestival #AirShow #TCMI #TraverseCity

A photo posted by National Cherry Festival (@cherryfestival) on

I have a general admission ticket to a Bay Side Music Stage Concert, do I need to bring a chair?

You may bring a chair, please bring it without a bag, as all bags are searched at the gate.  If you choose not to bring a chair, there are two sets of bleachers and plenty of standing room. 

Is accessible seating available in the Bay Side Music Stage area?

Yes, please visit the seating charts for each show to see the accessible seating areas. The 2017 seating charts will be posted here when available. 


Where can I pick cherries?

The Grand Traverse Area is home to many U-Pick farms and orchards.  For a full list, click here.

Are the cherries local?

From the cherries in the pies to the cherries in the products, many are from our local farms! We happily represent Cherries from across the nation during the National Cherry Festival.

Can you tell me about Travel & Accommodations? 

Sure!  Please click here to visit our Travel & Accommodations page for more information. 


How can I be a vendor?

To be a vendor at the Downtown Traverse City Area (DTCA) Arts & Crafts Show or to see if there is availability as a Mobile Marketer or as a Vendor in the Open Space area, please visit our Vendor page.

Can I bring my drone?

The National Cherry Festival is a NO DRONE ZONE.  Federal law prohibits flying a drone within 5 Nautical Miles of Cherry Capital Airport with permission from the FAA and Traverse City Air Traffic Control Tower. Violators may face federal, civil and criminal penalties. Questions? Contact 231-486-2900