BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Rides, pies, tunes and flying trapeze artists are on tap for this year’s Cherry Fest, slated for Thursday, June 9 through Saturday, June 11 at Whitehouse Park and throughout the downtown area.
“We will have what people enjoy the most about Cherry Fest,” said Zak Weimer, president of the Anthony Wayne Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The focal point will be a lot of live, local entertainment like the Grape Smugglers and Distant Cousinz, and dozens of other performers.”
New this year is the High Flying Pages, a family of entertainers who will provide 30-minute shows throughout the festival, including the High Flying Trapeze and Globe of Death – in which a performer rides a motorcycle inside a metal cage.
Cherry Fest kicks off on Thursday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. with an opening ceremony at the Whitehouse Park pavilion. Rides are open from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and the Cherry Fest pageants – including Little Miss Cherry Blossom (ages 6-9), Junior Miss Cherry Blossom (ages 10-13) and Miss Cherry Queen (ages 14-18) – will be held. Applications are available online and can be turned in the night of the pageant.
Following the opening night ceremonies, a Military Appreciation Night will be held in the Cherry Fest Beer Garden at 6:30 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for Vietnam Veterans of America Toledo Chapter 35. Tickets are $25.00 each at the door, or online at two for $40.00, and include food from Local Thyme and a drink ticket. The Fort Industry Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will make a presentation and many raffles will take place. Mark Elders and EZ Pickenz will entertain.
Friday and Saturday are filled with entertainment for adults and children.
In the beer and wine garden, the Grape Smugglers will take the stage on Friday, June 10 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. and Distant Cousinz will perform on Saturday, June 11 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. A cover charge and wristbands are required for entrance. Other bands are scheduled at the park pavilion – check the chamber website or Facebook page for updates.
Before enjoying an adult beverage, chicken dinner, kettle corn or treats from the many food trucks at the Cherry Fest, get out on a run. The Julie’s Fitness 5K will be held on Friday night. A wild 1K family walk/kids’ fun run, 5K run/walk, 10K run and kids’ wild walk are slated to start at 6:00 p.m. Half of the proceeds from the race will benefit Nature’s Nursery.
Saturday is Family Day, with the parade beginning on Oakbrook Drive at 1:00 p.m. The lineup will include the Marching Generals, White-house Motors, twirlers, cyclists and local businesses. Line the streets and watch out for flying candy!
On Saturday, the cherry pie-eating contest begins at 2:00 p.m. and a make-it and take-it booth sponsored by Bud Bauman will allow kids to hammer, nail and test out construction skills.
Whitehouse Fire Company will offer up its delicious chicken barbecue dinners throughout the day on Saturday.
Be sure to stop by the 1840s-era log home at the corner of Shepler and Providence Street from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday to learn about early pioneers.
Throughout the festival, visit the many booths with special sales, products and nonprofit organizations sharing information.
The festival is complete with plenty of rides and midway games. Wristbands are available for $17.00 on Thursday; $14.00 for 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday; or $22.00 for all-day passes on Friday and Saturday.
For the full lineup of events, visit http://www.awchamber.com/cherry-fest.