Marie-Chantal Dalese, president and CEO of Chateau Chantal, sent along a notice that this year’s “Blessing of the Blossoms” will take place Sunday, May 14, 12:30 to 1 p.m., on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Chateau Chantal will host the non-denominational Blessing of the Blossoms service, the origin of the Cherry Festival, with Pastor Chad Oyer of the First Congregational Church of Traverse City. Complimentary cherry pie, refreshments and musical entertainment will be on hand after the half-hour service. Children are encouraged to participate with provided blossom branches as we bless this year’s agricultural bounty on the Old Mission Peninsula.
The Blessing Ceremony and refreshments are offered free of charge to the public and do not require a WOMP Blossom Day Event ticket. Should guests wish to participate in the special new release wine tasting at Chateau Chantal and the other eight Old Mission member wineries, they can purchase a wine trail ticket for the Saturday, May 13 event through MyNorthTickets.com.
In 1910, the residents of the Old Mission Peninsula created the “Blessing of the Blossoms” ceremony to pray for a good cherry crop. Over the years, more orchards were planted and the ceremony grew as cherries became more important to the region’s economy. In 1925, the cherry growers partnered with Traverse City merchants to create the “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” to promote the region and the cherry business.
For a number of years, the Fiedrich Tower (across from what is now Chateau Grand Traverse) was the ceremony site. Mr. Fiedrich built the observation tower, dressed it with garlands, and sought to wed tourism and faith in the Blessing ceremony.
The location moved to Center Rd and Old Mission, on occasion, and on to Bowers Harbor Park, where the temptation to float blossoms on the water proved irresistible. In 1928, the Blessing of the Blossoms was renamed the Michigan Cherry Festival, which eventually evolved into the National Cherry Festival.
Here are a few photos from last year’s Blessing of the Blossoms ceremony at Chateau Chantal. See more here.