Photo by National Cherry Festival

Most Popular Events & Festivals in Grand Traverse County

Festivals celebrating many aspects of life are scheduled throughout the year in the Traverse City area. These festivals celebrate cherries, microbrews, wine, comedy, films, equestrians, ski races, and even macaroni and cheese! 

Others celebrate women and seniors, boats, homes, food, blossoms and trains. And still others feature children’s books, mountain bike races, businesses, hunting and fishing, and RVs.

Here we’ve condensed the most popular annual happenings, so you can see at a glance which time of year you may want to visit our wonderful area. Welcome to Grand Traverse County!

Blossom Days

The wineries of Old Mission Peninsula celebrate Blossom Days annually in mid-May. On that weekend, winemakers invite the public to their tasting rooms to sample unreleased wines in addition to their customary tasting list. A souvenir glass and tasting at all eight Old Mission wineries are included in the ticket price. Tickets go on sale 60 days before the event.

Leelanau Peninsula Birding Festival

The Leelanau Peninsula Birding Festival is held annually for three days in late-May, and is hosted by the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. A variety of festival field trips are offered within this event.

Traverse City Home Builders Association Parade of Homes

The Home Builders Association of Grand Traverse Area holds its annual Parade of Homes in June. In the past, the event will include a Remodeled Homes Tour and a New Homes Tour. The parade gives builders in the Grand Traverse area an opportunity to showcase their homes for the public. 

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National Cherry Festival

The Traverse City area bursts at the seams each summer when the National Cherry Festival occurs. The festival includes eight days of air shows, concerts, parades, food tastings, arts/crafts show, and fireworks. 

Traverse City Film Festival

If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned Christmas, Pentwater is where you want to be. Their Christmas in the Village takes place throughout the month of December. Pentwater’s shops, art galleries and restaurants will be decked out for the holiday season and puts you in a festive mood. There are also special events like a tree lighting, Santa’s arrival, horse-drawn carriage rides, caroling, and more.

Northwestern Michigan Fair

The Northwestern Michigan Fair in Traverse City is held in mid-August. It was established in 1908 and has been held at its current location on Blair Townhall Road, Traverse City, since 1975. The fair continues to follow its original purpose of celebrating area agriculture and youth programs.

CherryT Ball Drop

Downtown Traverse City bustles with party goers for the annual CherryT Ball Drop held on New Year’s Eve. CherryT is a play on words for Charity and the cherry, a symbol of the Traverse City region, which grows about 75% of the nations tart cherry crop each year. The celebration takes place at the downtown intersection of Front Street and Cass Street. The family-friendly event sees crowds estimated at 8,000 to 12,000 people.