Terra Moody, of Traverse City, brought her son Peter to try out his new big wheel, a recent birthday present.
Moody is a longtime Cherry Festival goer.
“I love Cherry Fest, and we need it for the economy,” she said.
Front Street businesses spent Saturday morning gearing up for what is inevitably one of their busiest weeks of the year.
Gail Lawson, a manager at American Spoon, said shoppers are always looking for businesses with local connections during Cherry Festival.
“We’re locally-owned, we use local farms and we make it all ourselves,” Lawson said. “They gravitate toward businesses like ours.”
American Spoon’s cherry products, like their cherry barbecue sauce, cherry butter and sour cherry preserve, are big sellers during the festival. This year the business is offering cooking demonstrations throughout the week to show customers what the can do with the popular goods.
Down the street at Doug Murdick’s Fudge manager Debbie Murdick said her shop makes extra black cherry and chocolate cherry fudge during the festival.
Cherry Festival business is always good for the Murdick’s, but weather makes a difference.
“If it’s hot, 80 degrees, they go to the beach,” Murdick said. “Rainy and cool they go shopping.”
Saturday’s weather stayed cool and dry throughout the day.
“This weather is ideal festival weather,” said Susan Wilcox-Olson, a National Cherry Festival spokeswoman.
Wilcox-Olson said everything was running smoothly for festival organizers midway through Saturday.
”It’s just a great vibe down here right now,” she said of the festival grounds.
The crowds on Front Street and at the Open Space grew more dense by early afternoon as the Midway buzzed and hummed with the sounds of whirling carnival rides.
But most people turned their attention to the festival’s afternoon air show.