TRAVERSE CITY — National Cherry Festival-goers took a step into the past by celebrating the region's history, a backward glance that featured a Native American Pow Wow at the Open Space and historic reenactments along the Boardman River.
Tuesday's festivities included a colorful display of Native American dancing and old-time stories as spun by an actor who channeled a Civil War-era nurse. Festival attendees sampled foods, watched draft horse exhibits and learned how to cut lumber jack dollars with cross-cut saws.
Quenten Branch, 8, and his brother, Landen, 4, learned how to trademark and saw lumber at the annual Heritage Day Family Picnic. Both are veteran picnic attendees and were anxious to take over the long, two-person, cross-cut saw to create their mementos.
“It’s pretty easy after you get going because you're deep into the ridge and get into a rhythm,” Quenten said.
The boys took lessons on logging on the Manistee River from Ken Bauer, a Historical Interpreter at Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling.
Just a stone’s throw away, Traverse City resident Ray Bohrer spoke with children about tools that once were used on his family’s dairy farm.
"We try to walk kids through the steps of farming, from seeds, to planting, harvesting, and even transportation,” he said. “People are so removed from farms, how food is made and how animals were raised. It’s magical to give people an appreciation of how much work it was.”
Just as the wind came up and a chilly rain began to fall Native Americans from area tribes drummed, chanted and danced at the Open Space during the annual Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians Pow Wow.
“It may be chilly now, but we’re going to warm things up,” said Derek Bailey, a tribal council member with the Band.
Ninety dancers then created some heat with a colorful display of movement and song.
Benzie County resident Korin Smeltzer attended in a traditional Native American jingle-dress. As a few raindrops fell, she hoped the dancing would somehow fend off any bad weather.
“I came so we can carry on our heritage,” Korin said. She danced in the event with her sister, Kayla, her Grandmother Coral Ramey, and her mother, Sally.