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Michigan Apple Queen and Court – Summer Parades

Marissa Tidey – 2012 Michigan Apple Queen

Parades and festivals are in full swing as we look to the end of summer. I kicked off the summer the right way by attending the Memorial Day parade in my hometown of Dowagiac, Michigan. As usual it was hot, humid and a perfect welcome for summer.

I absolutely love parades and the Bavarian Festival in Frankenmuth was no exception. Before each of the parades get rolling, Emily and I like to walk the route and hand out our Michigan Apple goods to children. We love interacting with the kids and having the opportunity to pass our knowledge of Michigan apples on to them. We also have the opportunity to chat with the residents of the community and witness the pride they have for their parades. Many spectators of the Bavarian parade had beautifully made costumes and we enjoyed spotting them throughout the route.

I have to say that Cherry Fest in Traverse City has been the most fun I have had during my reign so far. Watching the excitement of the new National Cherry Queen being crowned was amazing. There are so many traditions in the ceremony; it really reflects how far back the title actually goes. The next morning we walked the parade route as usual to greet the children but also had the opportunity to get acquainted with many of the area Queens as well. As the parade got started we realized that unfortunately, there was an issue with our car so without hesitation Emily and I jumped out and decided to walk. The crowd immediately started cheering and we ran out to the middle of the street to reclaim our position. The traditional question along this parade route is “what’s your favorite fruit?”and because I was a guest in their parade I quickly responded, “cherries” and received much applause! Although things didn’t go exactly as planned it was the most fun I have ever had in a parade. Emily and I were able to interact more with the crowd, and they were very excited to see us walking.

There are so many things that I have gotten to experience this summer. I am grateful to each and every community that has invited me to attend their festival or ride in their parade. I enjoy every new place I get to go and welcome the opportunity to spread the word about Michigan apples. As always, please remember to buy locally and support your Michigan farmers!

Emily Heeren – Michigan Apple Queen Court

I arrived in Frankenmuth Saturday, June 10th early in the afternoon to attend the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival. I was able to take a stroll through the downtown shops and came across a little building where there was a huge electric train track that was a replica of real tracks in Europe. I was able to visit with the “conductor” and talk to him about Michigan Apples.

Back out on the street it was fun to see the people dressed in their dirndls, and lederhosen. It was great to see all of the activity on the streets. Sunday June 11th was the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Parade. Before the parade Marissa and I walked and handed out stickers, pencils, and bookmarks. The parade was a ton of fun. There were many smiling faces and people sharing their appreciation of Michigan Apples.

I spent Friday July 13th and Saturday July 14th in Traverse City, at the National Cherry Festival. It was a beautiful weekend and Traverse City was buzzing with activity. Everyone seemed in high spirits.

On Friday we arrived in Traverse City. It was fun to walk around a bit and see the different parts of the festival. After walking around the fair grounds and town it was time to get ready for the Coronation Ball. The theme for this year was “Old Hollywood Glam”. Former Queen Jordan took her final walk and her reign ended as Meg Howard was named the new queen. At the ball Marissa and I were able to talk with many other queens. They shared their experiences with us and we shared ours with them. I also had the opportunity to talk with Rear Admiral Parks, operational commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. I presented him with a Michigan Apple pin and he said to find him when we are at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.

Saturday was the day of the parade. It was a lot of fun to walk around and talk with people about Michigan apples before the parade. The parade got off to a wonderful start as we rode in Mr. Bennett’s ’66 red mustang convertible. As we rolled down the street, sadly our ride was unable to continue. Mr. Bennett pulled the car to the side of the road so Marissa and I could get out and finish the parade on foot. This was a lot of fun. As we walked we were able to hand out some stickers and bookmarks and our mothers carried our magnets’ so people would know who we were. I think the highlight to walking were the thunder of applause when people heard that we were walking because our car had broken down. There was a group of people rating the participants in the parade by holding up numbers. When they found out why we were walking we received their highest score of the day 910 which made me smile.

I am honored to have been part of such wonderful events. Both events gave many opportunities to promote Michigan Apples. I am excited for the next opportunity!