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A Weekend of Fun at Ficksburg Cherry Festival

The picturesque town of Ficksburg is situated between the banks of the Caledon River and the foot of the Imperani Mountain in the Free State region of South Africa. As the largest cherry producing area in South Africa, Ficksburg is aptly known throughout the country as the Cherry Town. The Ficksburg Cherry Festival is the oldest crop festival in South Africa and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary from 15 to 17 November 2007.

The festival weekend in Ficksburg promises a jam-packed program of entertainment with something for every member of the family. Little ones will have the opportunity to visit the farmyard as well as to enjoy a show by Ollie the Clown, Jollie the Ape and Lulu the Rat. There will be bowls tournaments, golf tournaments, equestrian displays and competitions – including a display by the world’s largest Friesian. Each day contestants will be able to test their skills in a Cherry Pip Spitting Competition. The Crowning of pre-school Miss Cherry Blossom and Mr. Cherry Pip will take place on Thursday, followed by the Crowning of Miss Cherry Festival.

Energetic festival-goers can start Friday off with a 23 Km Cherry Walk hosted by the Ficksburg Marathon Club. The day continues with another full line-up of entertainment including equestrian events, golf, festival tours, a beer garden, a display by the world’s largest Friesian Horse and bicycle tricks by Dylan Victor (South African Trail Bike Champion). The evening’s entertainment kicks off with a performance by Idol’s finalist Poseletso, followed by Karlien Hurselman, Bala Brothers and South Africa’s boy band Eden.

Sunday features the Cherry Fun Run, Cherry Cycle Off-Road Challenge, and an expo of cherry products which is sure to highlight cherry mampoer – the South African version of moonshine. The South African Police Services dog and mounted horse show is always a popular event. There will also be an eight-team Friesian display. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the renowned Soweto String Quartet, Poseletso, Chereè and Robbie Wessels.

The idea for the first Cherry Festival came about in 1967 when a group of young men established a Ficksburg chapter of the international leadership/service organization, Jaycee International. They needed a project that would serve the community in order to launch their new organization. Something cherry-related seems to be the obvious way to go and the Jaycees decided on a festival to promote the cherry industry as well as the town. With humble beginnings the first Cherry Carnival (as it was then known) consisted of a film-show and the selection of a Cherry Queen. The following day a street procession of drum majorettes and floats featuring the Cherry Queen entertained the crowd with the Grand Cherry Ball taking place that evening. The festival is currently run by a community appointed voluntary committee.

It’s clear to see why the Ficksburg Cherry Festival is keenly anticipated by festival fans and visitors return year after year as the entertainment just gets better. So wherever you may be in South Africa, make your way to the 40th Ficksburg Cherry Festival from 15 to 17 November 2007 and have a whole lot of fun.


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