Traverse City Aims to Reclaim Guinness World Record for Largest Cherry Pie
We Michiganders know that Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the World. As the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the northern Michigan town every July for the annual National Cherry Festival to celebrate the season's harvest. I don't tell many people this but my first ever concert was Leann Rimes at the National Cherry Festival in 1998-- good times!
Naturally, you'd assume that Traverse City would be the world record holder for the largest cherry pie, right? Wrong. The Cherry Capital lost that title in 1987 but two brothers aim to change that and bring the title home once and for all!
Charlevoix - 1976
Local inn owner Dave Phillips enlisted the residents and farmers of Charlevoix to help celebrate both the annual cherry festival and the nation's bicentennial. Weighing in at 17,420 pounds the ginormous pie claimed the world record at the time. Then-President Gerald R. Ford was unfortunately unable to attend the celebration but he did send a letter of congratulations to the folks in Charlevoix. Today part of the custom-built oven and giant pie tin are all that remain.
Traverse City - 1987
Just 50 miles away from Charlevoix, local Traverse City resident Bob Underwood was upset the record of World's Largest Cherry Pie did not belong to the Cherry Capital. Bob and the Chef Pierre Bakeries (now Sara Lee) put together a record breaking cherry pie of their own weighing 28,350 pounds. Today the empty 17 feet, 6 inches diameter tin that was used to bake the pie sits outside the Sara Lee factory.
British Columbia - 1990
Sadly, the United States' reign as cherry pie champs ended after three years when the Oliver Rotary Club in Oliver, British Columbia, Canada baked a whopping 37,721 pound cherry pie on July 14, 1990. Today Oliver still holds the record, but hopefully not for much longer.
Traverse City - 2022?
Two brothers, Dakota and Garret Porter, are hoping to bring the largest cherry pie record back to its rightful home in the Cherry Capital of the World. The two brothers told Interlochen Public Radio they'd also been curious to know why there were two giant pie tins in northern Michigan. Upon learning how the two Michigan towns had lost the world record,
...we became furious, but then quickly our anger changed to determination. We set out to bring this title back to Traverse City once and for all.
The two brothers are currently working on the logistics of the pie: how to source a giant pie tin, who will supply the cherries, and governmental red tape. If all goes to plan the brothers will attempt to bake their 50,000 pound pie on August 6 at the Open Space venue, pending city approval.