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Cherry festival shows glimpse into Indian life
By BRETT McKAY
Michigan Correspondent

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — There was an abundance of warm, dry days on hand for those who attended this year’s National Cherry Festival.

The festival, which is now in its 80th year, featured more than 150 events spread during a week. It also allowed participants a glimpse into ancient Indian culture and their local history.

To the delight of the crowd, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight team performed many acrobatic tricks over the blue waters of the Grand Traverse Bay. Children and adults were all smiles as they participated in events such as potato-sack races, tug-of-war and cherry-spoon races. For those not interested in participating in any type of physical activities, cherries were on the agenda.

Cherry pie-eating contests, a cherry pancake breakfast and an ice cream social were favorites among the crowd. Vendors were selling and sampling everything imaginable that was made with cherries, including cherry salsa, cherry mustard and cherry lotions all thanks to a favorable growing season for local orchard farmers.

The sounds of drums and Indian song resonated throughout the area as the Grand Traverse Band Of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians performed a Pow Wow at the Open Space Park allowing residents a glimpse into ancient Indian culture and even allowed, at certain times, the crowd to join in on the dance.

Setting up camp at the Hannah Lay Park was a group of actors re-enacting the camp setting of early Metis life. The Metis were early settlers to the area and were descended from French fathers and Indian mothers circa 1700s.

7/13/2006