Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Here’s your guide to the virtual celebrations and, of course, all the cherry products one could hope for!

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — A pandemic can’t hold back the spirit one of our favorite Pure Michigan destinations: Traverse City, Michigan. They are celebrating a huge milestone Monday and we are here to help every ‘Gander celebrate. 

The village was officially incorporated into a city on May 18, 1895.

The celebration looks a little different than city officials originally hoped, but there’s still plenty to mark the historic moment. 

“It’s an honor to be Mayor of Traverse City for our 125 birthday,” said Mayor Jim Carruthers. “Sadly due to this crisis, we can’t celebrate publicly as a community, but we can join together virtually, so please join in the celebration.”

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A virtual bash will highlight the city’s history, culture and people. Some of the city’s biggest annual events have come together to make the virtual celebration unforgettable. The partnership includes Traverse City Tourism, the National Cherry Festival and City of Traverse City City Commissioner Ashlea Walter.

“If one of my best friends were to have a milestone birthday party during the pandemic and we couldn’t celebrate in person, what would I do for her? I would want to throw her a virtual party and show her how much our community loved her,” Walter said.

That community love is being shown in the way of a virtual celebration that allows all Michiganders to participate in online festivities.

“The City was thinking of having a festive community celebration to celebrate TC turning 125, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, original in-person plans were unfortunately canceled,” said Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk for the City of Traverse City. “While we may not be able to blow out 125 candles on her cake together, we certainly can have a birthday bash of a different kind!”

Join the party from anywhere!

Here are some ways you can join the cyberspace celebration today.

Happy Birthday Happy Hour

Celebrate virtually at 5 p.m. on May 18 with your favorite Traverse City-crafted beverage. Enjoy responsibly. 

TC Bingo

Traverse City Tourism is offering a free Traverse City BINGO game. People are invited to explore a fun sampling of historic, natural, and cultural features of Traverse City. Printable BINGO cards can be accessed here

Players can drop off their completed BINGO card with contact information to the National Cherry Festival office by May 31. Participants will be sent two certificates for a free slice of pie by the Grand Traverse Pie Company.

“The National Cherry Festival is thrilled to be able to help Traverse City celebrate such a milestone. We thought what better way to celebrate than with a slice of cherry pie,” said Kat Paye, Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival.

Get Moving!

Traverse City’s Norte is encouraging biking, walking, running, skipping, or strolling a safe and healthy 125, 12.5, 1.25 or .125 miles around Traverse City — or the Michigan town you now call home. 

“We love Traverse City and encourage our friends and neighbors to safely explore and remain active every day,” said Norte Executive Director, Ty Schmidt. “This is a special opportunity to enjoy our beautiful neighborhoods and open spaces and celebrate TC’s birthday. Outside is still not canceled!” 

Not local? No problem! 5 of our favorite Traverse City products.

If you’re missing out on your cherry fix, here are some TC businesses that will ship to you.

Cherry Pie

With locations all over the state, the Grand Traverse Pie Company may be an easier find than you think. Plus, the majority of their shops reopened to the public today, just in time for TC’s 125th!

Wine & Spirits

Traverse City wineries and distilleries attract people from all over the world. If you’re missing the taste of TC, consider checking out Chateau Grand Traverse or the ever-popular Traverse City Whiskey. In an effort to help keep us safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, Grand Traverse Distillery is using their facility to mix up hand sanitizer.

Barbecue Sauce

What better ingredient could be added to a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce than Michigan cherries? Benjamin Twiggs Northwoods Cherry BBQ sauce is smoky and sweet with enough TC in every bottle to bring you back home.

Cherry-infused Coffee Beans

Of course! The Cherry Stop is a storefront that sells everything from candies to coffee, with a cherry twist! Their premium cherry coffee is available in regular, ground or decaf to be shipped right to your home.

Just Give Me Cherries!

For the home cook or just the happy muncher, cherries from Michgian’s northern region are a treat. 

It’s worth noting that some of the city’s commerce is just as old as the town itself. W.W. Fairburn & Sons is open for hardware customers now just like it was in 1895.

We are proudly celebrating our 125th anniversary this year! Our history started as a hardware store in 1895 by Walter…

Posted by W W Fairbairn & Sons Inc. on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The company also has a plumbing, heating and cooling business that is accepting new customers now that Gov. Whitmer’s six-phase plan for reopening the state is continuing to move along.

Happy birthday, Traverse City.

What Traverse City shoutouts do you have? Favorite memories, must-see spots, best businesses. Tag us @gandernewsroom and use the hashtag #TC125!