Whitehouse Gears Up For 40th Annual Cherry Festival

Kids get a kick out of riding on the merry-go-round during the 2022 Whitehouse Cherry Festival. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Athletes, musicians, veterans, pageant winners and volunteers will be honored during the Cherry Festival in Whitehouse, but the goal of the 40th annual event is to celebrate community.

“One of my goals is to get everybody to come together – the Whitehouse American Legion, the Anthony Wayne Regional Chamber of Commerce and the village of Whitehouse – and give the community something to be proud of,” said chamber relationship manager Wendy Gehring. “We want people to enjoy themselves and support each other.”

Opening ceremonies are on Thursday, June 8 at 6:00 p.m. at the Whitehouse Park pavilion, followed by a Military Appreciation Night hosted by Task Force 20. Founded by 1998 Anthony Wayne graduate Jason Graven, Task Force 20 assists veterans with gym memberships, personal training and camaraderie-building events. Kelsey Rodriguez will sing the national anthem.

Military Appreciation Night is open to the public from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. in the beer and wine tent for $5.00 per person. The evening includes performances by Taylor and Travis at 6:30 p.m. and the Amelia Airharts from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. Queso Kitchen food truck will be on-site.

The Cherry Fest – with its rides, food trucks and performances – is open from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. that evening.

Flippenout Extreme Trampoline Show – a team of Olympic medalists, national team members and top-tier show professionals – will perform twisting triple flips and complex acrobatic routines, achieving heights of 25 feet or more with snowboards, skis, balls and Cirque-style action off of the only transparent wall in the world used in fast-setup trampoline shows. The free show is slated for Thursday, June 8 at 8:00 p.m., Friday, June 9 at 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Cherry Fest pageants are set for Thursday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the park pavilion, with ages 14-18 vying for Miss Cherry Queen, ages 10-13 for Junior Miss Cherry Blossom and ages 6-9 for Little Miss Cherry Blossom titles.

Returning after a hiatus is the Cherry Dessert Bake-Off on Friday, June 9. Create a cherry dessert to drop off at 2:15 p.m. for the 3:00 p.m. judging. Based on appearance, taste, originality and presentation, first- and second-place winners will be chosen for categories of double crust pie, cherry crumb pie and cherry dessert. A best of show will also be named.

A Cherry Pie Eating Contest is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 and cherry pies will be available throughout the festival – a great finale for the famous Whitehouse Fire Department’s chicken barbecue meals that will be served on Saturday while supplies last.

Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, street vendors will be set up, and Gehring said to expect a variety of unique photography, painting, jewelry, purses, woodworking, candles and even tinctures and other apothecary items.

A full lineup of entertainment is slated for the park pavilion stage on Friday and Saturday, including Ramona Collins, Terry & Charlie, Laurie Swyers & New Moon and Locoweed on Friday; and Muddy, Bliss and EZ Pickenz on Saturday. In the beer tent, Not Fast Enuff takes the stage at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Disant Cousinz at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Be sure to line Providence and Waterville streets on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the annual parade, which will include the Anthony Wayne Marching Generals, Shriners, American Legion Riders, Mercy Life Flight and Cherry Fest presenting sponsor Steve Rogers – who is marking the Ford dealership’s 20th anniversary this month.

Other Cherry Fest-related activities include the seventh annual Julie’s Fitness Studio 10K/5K and 1K kids fun run on Friday at 6:30 p.m. After the run, take a walk over to Julie’s Fitness Studio, 6763 Providence St., for a Wild Walk around the studio to visit with the Nature’s Nursery education ambassadors. Race participants are admitted free; non-runners can make a donation at the door for admission.

The Whitehouse Historical Society will open the 1840 log house, at the corner of Shepler and Lenderson, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10. Check out the historical furniture on the main floor and a memorabilia museum on the second floor of the home. 

The event will be held at Whitehouse Park, 6925 Providence St. in Whitehouse. For more information on Cherry Fest events and times, visit www.awchamber.com.

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