Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Traverse City for the Fourth and the National Cherry Festival

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I grew up in Traverse City and the National Cherry Festival. I always loved it. I know some of the locals avoid downtown Traverse during the Festival – many even leave town for the week – but I love it: the people, the venues, the activities, etc…

This year was no exception. The timing of my return to Michigan couldn’t have been better. Driving back to Grand Rapids on Friday, July 1 gave me Saturday to recuperate before driving up to Traverse City on Sunday in time for the Air Show.

The Festival has changed the configuration a bit in the open space area in recent years following the demolition of the old power plant, and this year featured the beer tent at the north end of the open space where for years featured the stage for the evening concerts. This made the beer tent area perfect for watching the air show and fireworks without being concerned about finding a good seat. Plus the beer was right there.

Although the U.S. Navy Blue Angels were not a part of this year’s show having visited TC last summer, I was thoroughly impressed with this year’s air show. The demonstrations of the A-10 Warhog and the F-18 Hornet by the US Army and Air Force respectively were cool to watch – I’d hate to have to challenge America’s air superiority – but the best part of the air show were the two flight teams.

More about the show after the jump...

Team RV: The World’s Largest Air Show Team entered overhead from our southeast with all 12 planes laying smoke. Working in three squadrons of four planes, Team RV filled the sky box throughout their show with exciting aerobatics and precision formations. The team gets its name from Richard Vangrunsven who designed the planes the team uses which are all home built.

The highlight of the afternoon was the Heavy Metal Jet Team, in their first season on the air show circuit and featured some of the coolest flying I’ve seen in over twenty years of the Cherry Festival. Featuring five jets all in the Artic camouflage paint scene and veterans of U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Air Force and Navy Top Gun schools, the standout of the show was the soloist, flying his jet so low over West Grand Traverse Bay that it looked like it was skipping across the bay - absolutely incredible. 

Of course, it is always a good time just walking up and down Front Street in downtown Traverse. We made the rounds at some of our favorite stops, including: Simply Cupcakes, Cherry Republic, The Cherry Stop, and Grand Traverse Pie Company.

Overall, it was another fantastic trip to Traverse City and the National Cherry Festival. I hope to make more trips to Traverse City including a visit for this summer Traverse City Film Festival and I want to do a TC brewery tour. What are your favorite spots or memories about the Cherry Capital?

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