The cherry season in Australia lasts usually from the middle of November until the end of December. The epicenter of the Australian cherry growing area is Young, NSW. And the most important day in Young’s calendar is the Annual National Cherry Festival.
National Cherry Festival is scheduled every year on the first weekend in December. This year it fell on December 1-2. I wasn’t planning to see the festivities; just wanted to go and pick some cherries, as I used to when I was a child. However, when I found out about the cherry festival, I timed my trip to coincide. I found an official online website for the National Cherry Festival with the timetable of all the festivities and decided to check it out.
It turned out, I wasn’t the only one. Accommodation was impossible to find on that weekend. There was nothing available in Young itself, so I had to widen my search. I worked out that all the cherry orchards were located south of Young, so for convenience and to reduce travel time I settled on a motel in Cootamundra, which is about 50km south of Young. And 50km over there is not the same as 50km in Sydney. Very few cars, no traffic lights, we got to the hotel in little over 30min. I booked about 3 weeks before we went, and it was the last room available in that town.
We did our cherry picking on Friday; the day we arrived. It was a good thing we went on a weekday because there were only a few people in the orchard. On Saturday we saw so many cars in the orchard, that they hired a man to direct traffic in their carpark. We picked and ate cherries on Friday and dedicated Saturday to see Young and their annual National Cherry Festival.
The main event we wanted to see was the parade, which went down the main street of Young at 4 pm. We arrived from Cootamundra at around 11 am, so there was plenty of time for a bit of sightseeing. We saw the St Mary’s Church, the car show, Young and regional fresh produce market, the Cherry Festival market stalls. (Pictures below). Even had some time to lie down in a shade of a tree and enjoy the cherries we picked the day before.
We had such a good time in Young. The cherry picking was great, of course, but I am a little biased, as cherry is my favorite fruit. We saw so many families on Saturday picking their own fruit. I think kids would love eating fresh fruit picked directly from a tree instead of a plastic container from Coles. The festivities were nice, the parade was great. What’s not to like.
Below are some images we took from the annual National Cherry Festival in Young, NSW.