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Flathead Cherry Festival adds new events, helps people displaced by fire

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POLSON — The two-day Flathead Cherry Festival returned to the downtown streets of Polson this past weekend but the event changed a bit by Sunday.

Working together as a community quickly became the theme of the festival among both vendors and festival-goers as fire crews battled the Boulder Fire located at Finley Point. On Sunday morning, the traditional pancake breakfast hosted by the Polson Chamber of Commerce and the Elks Club, shifted gears as volunteers helped feed folks who had been displaced by the fire and were sheltering at Linderman gym.

“We had numerous vendors offer their support and help,” said Polson Business Community president Bobbie Goldberg. “One vendor, a husband and wife team, offered to close shop and drive to Missoula for water and supplies. That’s what this community is all about.”

The festival, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, is a collaboration between the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers and Polson Business Community to celebrate the industry and promote the iconic cherries grown in the region.

While walking around and munching on fresh locally grown cherries, festival-goers were able to browse more than 75 vendor booths and local shops peddling their art and wares along Main Street. The cherry pie-eating and pit spitting contests were canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. 

This year, a sidewalk chalk art contest was added. “I was so thrilled with the talent and excitement from participants,” said  Sarah Walt Weaver, local cartoonist and competition organizer. “I loved the thoughtfulness and creativity surrounding this event’s participants. It was very neat to see people work hard to create something and be open with their imaginations. A few even worked together, which I thought was really great.”

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