Down South With a Cherry on Top
Every year in December, Manjimup hosts the Cherry Harmony Festival to celebrate the start of the cherry season. The festive mood is set on Friday night when Manjimup hosts the Cherry Ball, a night of live music (big band) and dancing, which is expected to rock on into the small wee hours. As the sun rises on Saturday morning, the streets of the town centre are closed off to traffic and the 5,000 expected visitors will be treated to live entertainment, cherry stalls, wood chopping, wine tasting, a bucking bull, dunking tank and of course the cherry pip spitting competition.
A Spitting Good Time
The cherry pip spitting competition attracts all sorts of spitters from around the state. The organizer Jon Doust, a well-known comedian, author and genuine all-around good guy, continually ups the competition each year by inviting world-renown cherry pip spitters from just about anywhere he can find them (which is no mean feat). The pip spitting competition is being sponsored by none other than ourselves, GlobeVista. Each year a New Zealand Cherry Pip Spitting champion is flown to Manjimup to compete with the locals.
A Long Lunch
On Sunday the festival finishes with a Long Table Lunch. The long table is set in the most exquisite location, amongst the cherry trees in the Newton Brothers orchard. Harvey Giblett hosts the event each year and puts on one of the best shows in the State’s South West. The four-course meal includes local cherry produce, black truffles, and the best local wines.
2006 Cherry Festival Results
During the Manjimup Cherry Harmony festival there are numerous events and competitions happening over the weekend including ‘Chuck the Cherry’, Red Wheelbarrow Race, Crowning of Cherry King & Queen, Pollie Cherry Pip Spitting and GlobeVista Cherry Pip Spitting Competition. Special guests for the 2006 festival were Rob Palmer (Better Homes and Gardens) and Michael Robinson (2006 Cherry Pip Spitter, Cromwell, New Zealand).
Global Cherry Pip Spitting Festivals
Manjimup is not alone in its cherry spitting competition. In Michigan, where they proudly boast being the “Cherry Capital of the World”, the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship is held every year. The competition began in 1974 by Heb Teichman, a local cherry farmer, who was trying to think of something innovative to do with cherry pits. From small beginnings, the local neighborhood competition grew to international competition. Even the Guinness Book of Records could not help but recognise it as an official competition. Every year hundreds of people flock to the opening of the ‘Harvest of Tart Cherries’ to watch national and international pip spitters. “Pellet Gun” Krause from Arizona held the world record of 72 feet 7 inches (roughly 22m) for nearly 10 years until “Young Gun” Krause (his son) stole the honours at 100 feet 4 inches (roughly 31m).
In Céret, a little town in France, the annual cherry festival is held in June and provides a colourful weekend of stone spitting, music, dancing and entertainment in the streets. Everyone gets in on the act, local shops decorate their windows in cherry themes, local school children display their paintings and restaurants have nothing but cherry based food on the menus, served with cherry beer. The record in France is believed to be 11m.
In a small town perched high on a hill in Viterbo, Italy, is the Cherries Festival of Celleno’s Proloco. Located an hour from Rome the beautiful town, with the Orsinis ‘s castle as a medieval backdrop, celebrates its cherry season in June. The festival includes music, exhibitions, cherry tasting and of course the famous 15-metres-long cherry tart (which is shared amongst the festival-goers).