WILLISTON, N.D. - Along with the heat, there will be a lot of things sweet this weekend in Williston.
The 12th annual Chokecherry Festival begins Friday evening. The event celebrates the chokecherry as the official North Dakota state fruit.
Back in 2007, a local sixth grade class noticed North Dakota didn't have a state fruit. They crafted a persuasive letter that led to legislation being introduced by local state representatives. Gov. John Hoeven signed it later that year. Since then, there's been an annual festival to celebrate the kids' accomplishment.
The two-day celebration will include a burger feed, musical entertainment from Miss Williston Renae Evenson and Tigirlily, a free pancake breakfast, a 5K run, the annual Chokecherry stroll, raffles, games, Bear Hollow Wood Carvers, and of course, the Nationally-acclaimed dog jumping organization The Ultimate Air Dogs.
Williston CVB Event Coordinator Sarbina Ramey says the festival has really grown into a community effort.
"The community has done quite a few things to support the Chokecherry festival as well. There is always a coloring contest that a local kid designs the sheet for and Albertson's sponsors that and if you go into Albertsons, you'll see the coloring sheets up on the wall. Some stores pick up chokecherry products just for the week, like you mentioned a local coffee shop has chokecherry syrup and then Dairy Queen has a blizzard with a chokecherry cheesecake in it. So it is kind of cool, we love that when retailers hop on board and do something chokecherry," said Ramey.
For more information on this year's Chokecherry Festival, you can visit the Chokecherry Festival Facebook page.