BY JACK LANE
---- — The Cherry Festival started in 1925 as the Blossom Festival— second weekend in May. In 1931, with the Great Depression on, it was moved to the second week in July solely to draw tourists northward. Since then, tourism around the world became a huge industry.
Our need, now, is to compete for the tourist we want, not the tourist who comes because it’s free. The ‘freebies’ are already in place —the bay, the hills, the open bayfront and all the recreational opportunities. Cities with little natural resources — those are places that need to offer Blue Angels. We offer blue water and beaches.
There is no longer a need to beg people to come to Traverse City in July — hasn’t been for 30 years. There is, however, an economic need to induce them to come the second weekend in May, when our hills and valleys are bejeweled in those lovely blossoms and our businesses are just crawling out of the long, slow winter and would welcome those tourist dollars. Of all the ‘studies’ done in Traverse City over the years, how is it possible no one has done a comprehensive study of the Festival’s actual impact on all of us? Tradition is wonderful, until it begins to negatively impact lives.
Move the Festival back to the second weekend in May when all those lovely blossoms are out, shrink it way, way down (three days, one parade) and stop selling TC’s soul (and pace of life) to the something-for-nothing crowd.
It’s a win/win for all of us - farmers, locals, our pace of life and the vitality of our businesses.
About the author:
Jack Lane, a local real estate broker and host of Ask the Real Estate Guy radio show, grew up in Traverse City. He’s spent 25 years in the real estate business.
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