Cherry Fest Attracts Thousands on Opening Day - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Cherry Fest Attracts Thousands on Opening Day

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The 69th annual "Northeast Cherry Festival" opened this on Tuesday afternoon, and organizers are expecting a big year.

The biggest change people will notice the rides - there's a lot more of them, including faster, taller attractions. The new vendor is "Bates Brothers Amusements. Entrance to the fest is free, but a pass for the rides goes for $18.

Organizers hope it'll bring even more people, though the fest has always been popular. In years past, the fest draws 25,000 to 30,000 people over the course of its five days.

The biggest draw for people is typically the food.

Volunteers will bake about 2,000 cherry pies over the course of the festival, baking the pies fresh daily. They'll also sell plenty of cherry turnovers, and fresh cherries.

On the savory side, volunteers also cook one ton of sausage for the popular Cherry Festival sausage sandwiches, and eight thousand pounds of potatoes for the seasoned curly fries.

All proceeds from the festival benefit the local Northeast Volunteer Fire Department. The fest is their main fundraiser.

"This is very important. The community shows great support and it helps keep our training up, our staff up, the equipment," said David Meehl, fire chief of Northeast VFD. "Also keeps up the man power to staff and everything else we have," he said.

They are hoping the festival will raise $50,000 this year.

The Cherry Fest continues until Saturday, wrapping up with the big parade in downtown Northeast at 4pm.

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