Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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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