TRAVERSE CITY — Let Batman have his moonlight silhouette. Super Cherry's red, globular girth eclipses the sun.
The superhero casts a long, round shadow on a sunny day, yet puts a shine on those who behold it. The caped fruit walked into Traverse City's Tendercare Health and Rehab Center this week, its permanently smiling visage prompting surprised looks, grins, waves, handshakes and hugs, assorted pit jokes and bite threats.
"Remember, you have to get in shape for the parade," Super Cherry's handler grumbled at the superhero's lumbering gait. Handler — as in the person who holds the hero's hand to prevent it from walking into walls.
Super Cherry plied a powerful retaliatory weapon — silence, concentrate.
Unlike most freakishly large superhero fruit, Super Cherry's backstory is not a product of pesticides or genetic mutation. Super Cherry rather was a "stand out" cherry at the Frankfort orchard, said Brent Bradley, Graceland Fruit's vice president of sales and marketing.
As the biggest, ripest and sweetest, Super Cherry realized its duty to represent its "shiny red friends." Super Cherry's cape and mask is not to burgle, hide an identity or for flight, but to emphasize that dried cherries are a "super" fruit, Bradley said.
"Dried cherries make healthy snacks — that's Super Cherry's primary message to kids and parents," Bradley said. "We introduced Super Cherry in 2012 to have fun and showcase the health benefits of dried cherries. It's the 'Tony the Tiger' approach.'"
Now there's no stopping Super Cherry's upward trajectory.
This year is Super Cherry's debut as the Traverse City Cherry Festival's official mascot. The super-sized superhero will join the hosts of ABC's "The Chew" on Monday and has full slate of public appearances at the Cherry Festival, including the Carter's Kids Festival Fun Run and even, gulp, the pie eating contest.