TRAVERSE CITY — A first-time night air show, a new smartphone app, two fireworks displays and six concerts are on tap at this year’s National Cherry Festival.
The 87th annual festival, June 29-July 6, kicks off with two air shows over West Grand Traverse Bay on June 29 at 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Traverse City pilot Kevin Copeland is among the slate of performers that also includes Team AeroShell, Team Aerodynamix and Matt Younkin. The air show teams perform a practice show on June 28.
National Cherry Festival Director Trevor Tkach said three of the four acts specialize in night shows, which typically include colored lights and pyrotechnics.
“Let’s try something new, have some fun with it, try something else,” Tkach said Monday at a festival launch event that unveiled the winning commemorative art work of Maple City artist Michelle Hart Jahraus and Kalkaska High School-TBAISD Career-Tech Center student Mandy Collins.
Festival-goers can find food and event information, earn badges, capture favorite moments with custom picture frames, and stay socially connected with a new National Cherry Festival App created by local mobile experience agency yo2mo. The app is available now on Google Play and will be available in the Apple App Store in June, officials said.
Country artists Aaron Tippin and Jana Kramer join the Bay Side Entertainment lineup July 3, followed by the Simon & Garfunkel Tribute Band — Old Friends July 4. The latter is a reenactment of Simon and Garfunkel’s 1981 Central Park concert. The 1964 (Beatles) Tribute Band makes a return appearance on closing day, July 6.
Other performers, previously announced, are Styx, Montgomery Gentry and Foreigner.
This year festival-goers get to see two fireworks displays, one on July 4 put on by the Traverse City Boom Boom Club, the other the traditional festival finale display on closing day. July 4 festival activities also include the Carter’s Kids Festival Fun Run & Walk and the Golden Mile race.
Award-winning writer, broadcaster and musician Mitch Albom visits the festival for a National Writers Series eventJuly 2. Albom is the author of three best selling books and the screenplay writer for two of them, as well as a playwright, a columnist, a daily radio talk show host and a national TV sports network regular.
Festival tickets are on sale at cherryfestival.org. Proceeds from three cherry cuisine events will benefit the inaugural Cherry Festival Foundation, created to cultivate charitable, educational and agricultural relationships that enhance the festival’s mission and vision.