It’s time once again to celebrate North Dakota’s State Fruit with music, movies and more at the 13th annual Chokecherry Festival in Williston this weekend.
The chokecherry has been the state’s official fruit since 2007, with letters from Williston teacher Nancy Selby’s sixth grade class leading to legislation being introduced by Senators Stanley Lyson and Nick Hacker and signed into law by Governor John Hoeven on March 27, 2007.
Since then, Williston has hosted the festival every year, drawing thousands to the city to enjoy all the weekend has to offer, from live music and silent auctions, to craft vendors and all the chokecherry products you could ever want.
The Chokecherry Festival is set for Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10 at Harmon Park, with events and activities happening throughout the day for visitors to check out.
The festival kicks off on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ryan Motors, where the XPOGO Stunt Team will be performing high-flying pogo stunts all over the dealership’s lot. From there, things heat up at Harmon Park beginning at 4 p.m. with Nemont’s 1,000 burger feed and music from the Peterson Family.
Cleanse your pallet and cool off from the heat at 4:30 p.m. with free ice cream and chokecherry syrup, courtesy of American State Bank and Trust.
The Jensen Sisters take the stage at 5:30, followed by the Brianna and the Outsiders at 7 p.m. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can enjoy demonstrations from the Ultimate Air Dogs and the Bear Hollow Wood Carvers. Cap the night off with some family fun and a movie in the park with the Disney film Coco at 10 p.m.
On Saturday morning, let the Lions take care of the growl in your stomach with a free pancake breakfast, with chokecherry syrup of course, prepared by local Lions groups and served at 7:30 a.m. From there, the festival just gets better with live music throughout the day featuring local acts, including fan-favorite Jessie Veeder.
Registration for the Chokecherry 5k and one mile Fun Run begins at 8 a.m., with the races beginning at 8:30. Things really start heating up at 10 a.m., with the opening of the vendor booths, the free Kids Chokecherry Pit featuring games, inflatables, facepainting and more; the Chokecherry Festival Car and Bike Show and the Competitive Cornhole League games. Family Cornhole competitions begin at 11 a.m. The Ultimate Air Dogs, Bear Hollow Wood Carvers and XPOGO Stunt Team will share demonstrations throughout the day.
Visitors of all ages will have their chance to go the distance with one of the festival’s favorite events, the chokecherry pit-spitting contest. Kids, teens and adults can try their hand at seeing who can spit the farthest, earning prizes for the winners. The competition starts at noon in the tennis court area at the park.
A full schedule of events for the Chokecherry Festival can be found on the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau website and facebook. Registration for the Cornhole Tournament, Fun Run and Car Show can also be done on the CVB website. Call 701-774-9041 for more details.