The Chokecherry Festival is this Saturday, Aug. 3!

No, it's not as sweet as a blueberry, or as juicy as a strawberry, but nonetheless, chokecherries will be celebrated this Saturday, Aug. 3, in Pequot Lakes.

It's the 12th Annual Chokecherry Festival! That's right, Pequot Lakes is Minnesota's Chokecherry Capital! The all-day festival will include a culinary contest, kids games, vendor fair, pit-spitting contest, beer garden and fantastic food (including the "almost-famous" Shish-ka-bobbers)!

A wild chokecherry tree in the Whitefish Area

If you're wondering what a chokecherry is, we'll tell you: it's a berry that grows on wild trees in the Whitefish Area. While birds love the fruit, it's not a popular one in its raw form. Chokecherries have a very specific taste, known for being astringent and tasting rather dry and sandy.

Though they're unpopular raw, chokecherries can really shine when cooked, as the dry taste leaves the berry while a pleasant tart, fruity flavor remains (though some sugar definitely helps). We can tell you that a good chokecherry jam can't be beat!

If you'd like to participate in the culinary competition, simply bring your finished chokecherry dish to the Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes on the morning of the festival by 11:30 a.m. There is only one rule: chokecherries must be used in the recipe. The contest will include several categories, and contestants can submit an entry in more than one category. Categories include jams, jellies and preserves; pastries; wine; and original recipes.

Perhaps one of the most popular parts of the festival is the pit spitting contest, which is made extra interesting because you'll have to eat the raw chokecherry to get to the pit! The current spit-distance record is more than 30 feet... think you can beat it?

The festival is also advertising its backseat driver game, another favorite from years past. You and your partner will have to work together to drive a tractor through the course. The catch? The driver is blindfolded! Fastest time and fewest mistakes will win the prize.

After the festival events, the Babinski Foundation will host a pet parade at 2 p.m. in Trailside Park. Enter your pet and join the fun!

Come celebrate nature's forgotten fruit, the chokecherry! The Chokecherry Festival will promise fun games, great food, grooving music and fantastic shopping. Festivities run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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