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Michigan Apple Royalty Attends the National Cherry Festival

Alyson Wendzel – 2011 Michigan Apple Queen

Apart from apples, cherries are probably my favorite fruit so I was very excited to be able to attend the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City last weekend. The festival was everything I thought it would be and more! The day of the coronation ball I was able to walk around and see what the Cherry Festival was all about. There were rides, games, and food stand after food stand filled with everything from just plain sweet cherries to cherry flavored beef jerky! I really enjoyed the cherry smoothies though. That night my family and I attended the Cherry Queen’s Coronation Ball at the beautiful City Opera house. It was so exciting to see the new queen Jordan Bleaker crowned and hear about the exciting year she has coming up. At the ball I met other queens from all over the area and also service men. It ended up being a really fun night.

The next morning, I got ready for the parade and even showed up a little early so that I could walk around and see the other parade entries and meet people. There were such creative float ideas and so many nice people who were very interested in what the Michigan Apple Queen was. My favorite question of the day though was when a little girl asked me how big my castle was and if she could come visit me some day. Even though it was a little hot out side, the actual parade was my favorite part of the entire festival. It was an honor to be riding in style in Rob Bennett’s vintage Mustang which got a ton of double takes during the day. People watching were so energetic and many people yelled out how much they love Michigan apples! The most shocking part of the parade was when I heard my name being called out and I turned and saw three of my friends yelling and waving at me. It was so shocking because I had no idea they were coming and they had driven four and a half hours just to surprise me! It was perfect to end my day watching the festival’s beautiful fireworks show with them. I had such a great time at the National Cherry Festival, and I encourage everybody to attend this event. It’s a festival worth going back to year after year!

Hillary Heeren – Michigan Apple Queen Court

On Friday July eighth, I traveled up to Traverse City for the National Cherry Queen’s Coronation Ball. The theme of the ball was “A Royale Masquerade” and we were all invited to wear masks. It was an exciting event attended by many other royals from around the state to celebrate the new National Cherry Queen Jordan Blaker. It was interesting to hear the stories the other royals had to tell about things which have happened to them while reining.

On Saturday July ninth, the National Cherry Festival was winding down with the Cherry Royale Parade. Even though the festival was nearing its end, the parade was very well attended. Before the parade, I was able to share my love of Michigan Apples with many people including the President and First Lady of the National Cherry Festival Board of Governors. I was even able to speak with the State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and he mentioned he loves Michigan Apples too! I then presented him with a Michigan Apple pin which made him smile.

For the parade, a local resident kindly drove us in his red mustang convertible. Some people thought the red color was for the cherries but I think it was to support Michigan Apples.

While on the parade route a group from the crowd asked, “What is your favorite fruit?” Alyson and I replied, “Apples!” Someone then shouted, “What is your second favorite fruit?” We responded, “Cherries!” To which the crowd cheered. Later I heard a woman in the crowd say, “Apples are my favorite fruit but don’t tell anyone” which made me smile.

The parade could not have been any more successful. There was plenty of sunshine, people, and good cheer. I will always have fond memories of the National Cherry Festival.