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Blessing of the Blossoms | Jane Boursaw Photo
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The annual Blessing of the Blossoms will take place on Sunday, May 19, 12:30 p.m., with Pastor Melody Olin from Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church presiding.

Chateau Chantal, 15900 Rue de Vin, will host the non-denominational service, which actually harks back to the very beginnings of the National Cherry Festival.

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Complimentary cherry pie, refreshments and musical entertainment will be on hand for the half-hour service (including yours truly on violin). Children are encouraged to participate with provided blossom branches as the blessing takes place for this year’s agricultural bounty on Old Mission Peninsula.

The Blessing Ceremony and refreshments are offered free of charge to the public and do not require a WOMP (Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula) Blossom Day Event ticket. However, should folks wish to participate in Blossom Day on May 18, 2019, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., they may purchase a ticket for $30 in advance or $35 the day of the event. More info here.

The “Blessing of the Blossoms” dates back to 1910, when the residents of the Old Mission Peninsula created the 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 Freidrich Tower (across from what is now Chateau Grand Traverse) was the ceremony site. Mr. Freidrich built the observation tower, dressed it with garlands, and sought to wed tourism and faith in the Blessing ceremony.

The location moved to various locales around the Peninsula, including Bowers Harbor Park. In 1928, the “Blessing of the Blossoms” was renamed the Michigan Cherry Festival, which eventually evolved into the National Cherry Festival.

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Freidrich Tower on the Old Mission Peninsula | Peck Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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