Legislators Back Students Barred from Natl Cherry Festival
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 7, 2003
Traverse City, MI (LifeNews.com) — Four Michigan legislators are backing a group of pro-life students whose entry was barred from a National Cherry Festival parade.
The Grand Traverse Area Students for Life were shocked to hear that their application was rejected on the grounds that their "Clebrate Life" message was too controversial. The group had participated in the Cherry Festival’s Junior Royale Parade for the past seven years.
Sens. Michelle McManus and Jason Allen, and Reps. Howard Walker and David Palsrok have written a letter asking the festival’s committee accept the group’s application next year.
Tom Kern, the festival’s executive director, said that the pro-life teen group was not singled out, and that 21 other entries to the three festival parades were also rejected for not conforming to the new policy, barring "Units sponsored by or depicting a political organization or controversial issue."
Students for Life, formed in 1995, had about 70 students march in the 2002 Cherry Festivals’ Junior Royale parade. The group also holds an annual pro-life rally and performs skits for area youth groups promoting teen abstinence.
The National Cherry Festival, an annual event in Traverse City, MI since 1926, is held to promote the cherry industry, promote tourism and community involvement, and to cultivate the business, entertainment, and cultural interests of the Grand Traverse region. This year the festival will take place July 5-12.