Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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Cherries On Paper

New Cherry Fest Book Is All Fun

Pamela Garth - July 7th, 2014  


Just in time for Cherry Festival 2014 comes The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City: Blessing of the Blossoms, by Brooks Vanderbush. This book’s subject matter and bright cover are bound to attract the attention of locals and visitors to the Grand Traverse region. It is neither a scholarly historic treatise nor a literary meditation but a people’s account of an immensely successful, longrunning festival. The style is breezy and folksy, with puns, asides and digressions on almost every page. In fact, “fun” is really the heart of this book, as the author presents the Cherry Festival in that context.

Readers will find old photographs and will even spot familiar buildings with long-ago business names. There is a lot to be learned, too. For instance, those who think the Cherry Festival has become “too commercial” might be surprised to realize that marketing was integral to the festival right from its beginning. Marketing cherries isn’t “forgetting the farmer,” but aiming to ensure farm product sales. Promoting tourism for the region was also a Cherry Festival focus as early as 1928.

How many people today who object to the militarism of the Blue Angels air show remember or know that in 1967 the Seabees put on a simulated nuclear attack at the old Grand Traverse fairgrounds, a “show” designed “to stimulate interest in civil defense?” Can you believe it? Duck and cover!

As the Cherry Festival grew over the years, disappeared a couple of times, came back, and was transformed, the author believes that change has kept it always fresh, while traditional elements ensure the survival of a family-friendly event for locals and visitors alike. Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, Vanderbush tells us, is among the top ten in the United States. The number of free events, about 85 percent of the Festival total, make it a natural destination event for budget-conscious families looking for summer fun. Change and tradition are two more themes in the book.

What is the role of the Cherry Festival Queen, and how have queens been chosen over the years? Who was the first invited U.S. president to actually attend? How was the first festival financed, and how much did it cost? Read to find out.

The last chapter features stories and reminiscences of attendees from the age of six to the age of 83, and here exclamation marks abound in the paragraphs written by children. “I went to the Cherry Festival!” “The Cherry Festival has a lot of floats!” “I will have so much fun!” “It’s going to be awesome!” Their enthusiasm is unabashed.

You can tell Vanderbush absolutely loves the Cherry Festival, and it’s hard to fault a writer for boosterism when a man wears his heart on his sleeve so shamelessly.

 
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