TRAVERSE CITY — The National Cherry Festival isn’t just about eating, it’s also about working it off.
While beach volleyball is traditionally on the first weekend and the Festival of Races on the final day, several other festival offerings can help locals and tourists shed an extra pound or two from that second helping of cherry pie.
Opening day on Saturday saw the return of Zumba to the Cherry Festival.
It was the sixth year that certified Zumba fitness instructor and Traverse City native Angie Pierce took to the Bay Side Music Stage.
“I just saw there was a need for getting Traverse City to be healthier and to make working out fun and something you can look forward to,” said Pierce, who owns Nourish as well as her own business, Zumba with Angie Pierce.
Pierce and five other instructors lead the two-hour class which is actually two sessions in one.
From 8-8:45 a.m. is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Zumba that Pierce described as a cross between cardio and kickboxing, all set to music.
“It’s music-led workouts to make working out a little more fun,” said Pierce, who wanted to bring some soul and hip-hop dancing to northern Michigan after returning to the area in 2013 from Washington, D.C.
At 8:45 a.m. is a more traditional class.
“We call that our big Zumba party,” Pierce said.
She said the first Zumba class was held closer to Clinch Park Beach, on a small wooden stage. The event has been held on the Bay Side Music Stage ever since.
“Every time we’ve done it we’ve had at least a hundred people,” Pierce said. “I always try to figure out how to build it more. I’d say it’s grown every year. We usually have more than a hundred and one year I think we were a little under 200.
“We want to get to 300 so we can break the record for the most people at an outdoor Zumba event in northern Michigan.”
Pierce is guessing a lot of the people in attendance are locals, not that it matters.
“A lot of them are people who have followed me in the Zumba world since I moved back,” she said. “I just really want everyone to feel the excitement and motivation and that working out can be something exciting and not something you dread.”
Back for its third year on Sunday morning is Yoga by the Bay.
The first two years attendance was 150 and Amy Kietzman, co-owner of Original Hot Yoga Traverse City with her husband, Brandon, is expecting that number to soar with a schedule switch.
“The last two years we had about 150 people and it was on a Monday,” she said. “This year it’s on a Sunday, so that will be exciting.
“It’s a great opportunity to unite the community and do a healthy activity together and bring peace and well being, something we do day after day in our facility on Garfield.”
Kietzman said there are eight to nine instructors leading the session scheduled from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Cherry Festival Food Court area at Open Space Park.
Those who did not sign up online for Yoga by the Bay should plan to arrive about 30 minutes early to get a spot and sign a waiver.
Participants should bring their own yoga mat. If they don’t have a mat, a beach towel will suffice.
Kietzman said Yoga by the Bay is a way to educate and give back to the community. She said the Cherry Festival event is an extension of free community classes held every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re excited to be a part of the Cherry Festival,” Kietzman said. “It’s a great way to unite the community. We appreciate the opportunity to show everybody what we love to do every day.”
Boomers Bootcamp will be at the Cherry Festival for a second straight year on July 2. The free workout at Clinch Park Beach is scheduled for 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Brooke Emery, the manager at Boomers Bootcamp, said all three of its trainers will lead the sessions on July 2. Emery said the trainers will spend some making sure participants stretch before explaining the exercises.
“It’s a really fun, positive, energetic atmosphere,” Emery said. “It’s 30 minutes of HIIT workouts.”
In describing the overall workout, Emery said it combines elements of strength and cardio exercises at the same time.
“It’s an all-in-one, built-in package,” she said.
According to the Cherry Festival website, Boomers is “a group personal training program where you’ll get high energy, fun, and challenging workouts designed to burn maximum fat and tone your entire body in only 30 minutes.”