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Polson cherry festival draws thousands

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Jul 21 2013 04:34:57 PM MDT
POLSON, Mont. -

This weekend was the annual Polson Cherry Festival, celebrating one of Montana's most beloved homegrown fruits.

Vendors from all over the Flathead gathered for the festival and came out to share their cherries.

"I think that if cherries from the Flathead Valley can be at the festival that's a huge draw,” said Julie Bonner of Big Sky Cherry Company.  “We love to share them with people from all over.  We've met people from all over the country."

Visitors even plan their vacation around the festival to come and taste the Flathead's famous cherries.

Bonner says that for her, cherry season means one thing.

"Cherries for me mean summer is officially here in the Flathead Valley,” Bonner said.  “I think people are happy to come out and enjoy the sunshine and get the cherries because summer's here."

Weather has played a key factor here at the cherry festival this weekend as it's not only brought out thousands of guests, but it also brought along cherry season just in time for the festival.

"One of the best things about this year’s festival is we fell right into growing season,” said Jackie Cripe, the festival’s founder.  “Sometimes we have cherries and sometimes we don't.  It's up to mother nature and this year we've had truckloads of cherries at the festival."

Cripe hopes to grow the festival in the coming years to include more cherry themed items to go along with those famous Flathead Valley cherries.