This Michigan City is Called the “Cherry Capital of the World”

The United States is full of stunning hidden gem communities. The city is nestled between the East and West arms of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. The name might not sound familiar, but this Michigan town is recognized as the “Cherry Capital of the World” and organizes an annual festival that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Traverse City, Michigan Is known as the ‘Cherry Capital of the World’

Traverse City is a picturesque town in Michigan known as the “Cherry Capital of the World.” The city had a population of 15,678 as of the 2020 census.

Farms in Traverse City are well-known for producing sour cherries. Cherry trees were first planted on the Old Mission Peninsula in the mid-nineteenth century.

Cherry cultivation in this part of Michigan has grown into a lucrative industry. According to, the Grand Traverse Region generates more than half of Michigan’s yearly tart cherry crop. That’s between 100 and 120 million pounds of cherries per year.

While Michigan is known for its tart cherries, the Grand Traverse Region produces over 50 million pounds of sweet cherries each year.

History of Michigan’s Cherry Capital

According to, the Traverse City region’s association with cherries began in the mid-1800s, when Presbyterian missionary Peter Dougherty planted cherry trees on Old Mission Peninsula (near modern-day Traverse City).

To the amazement of surrounding residents, Dougherty’s cherry trees thrived due to its location along Lake Michigan, which tempers Arctic winds in winter and cools the orchards in the summer. Other farms quickly followed Dougherty’s example.

By the early 1900s, cherry output had outpaced all other main crops in the region. Traverse City Canning Co. opened its doors in 1903 and soon began delivering the popular fruit to Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee.

When Did the Cherry Festival Begin?

The annual National Cherry Festival in Traverse City honors the city’s strong cherry industry. The tradition began in 1925 as the “Blessing of the Blossoms.” In 2024, the event will be held from June 29 to July 6.

The National Cherry Festival offers a variety of family-friendly events, many of which are free. Parades, live music, and friendly competitions take place throughout the weeklong festival. In the Adult Cherry Pit Spit Contest, see if you can break the Guinness World Record, and in the Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest, see who can finish with a clean plate.

The Cherry Queen Date Back to 1925

Some traditions, like selecting the Cherry Queens, are as old as the festival itself. The Cherry Queen is more than simply a catchy title for a weekend of festivities. This chosen woman will be the ambassador for the National Cherry Festival, the Cherry Industry, and the Traverse City Area.

Gertrude Brown was selected as the inaugural Cherry Queen in 1925. Since then, a Cherry Queen has been chosen each year, with the exception of 1927 due to the Depression and 1942-1947 due to World War II.


Traverse City, Michigan, recognized as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” boasts a rich history of cherry cultivation since the mid-1800s. Hosting the annual National Cherry Festival since 1925, the town celebrates its thriving cherry industry with events, parades, and traditions, reinforcing its status as a hidden gem with a unique agricultural heritage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *