Every June, Eden arrives in Beaumont, signaling the passing of spring into summer, idyllic afternoons spent amidst rolling hills of oak and sycamore, juices dribbling down your chin as you stuff your mouth with the forbidden fruit under the shade of the cherry trees. In case you didn’t figure it out already, the crop du jour of this sleepy haven for Medicare happens to be the cherry crop, and lucky for you, heaven descends for four days at the Cherry Festival, the Pass Area’s biggest gathering. Sample the harvest in its purest form, as cherry pies, cherry jams, even cherry T-shirts, bumper stickers and cherry caps. The festival has something for everyone—carnival rides, arts and crafts for the wee tots, a beer and wine garden for dipsomaniacs, and ‘80s nostalgia from former chart-toppers Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Martha Davis of the Motels.
Saturday, June 7th, happens to be the busiest day, starting with a Pancake Breakfast at the Civic Center and the morning parade. In the afternoon, Elvis reincarnated struts his stuff, and the boogieing headlines evening activities led by the Superfreaks and Orleans. Salsa tunes and the oldies conclude the festivities. By the way, if Mayberry’s folksiness bores you silly, you could head north on Beaumont Avenue towards an open orchard or two. For a slight admission fee, you can eat as many fresh-picked cherries as you can toss into a bucket. The early winter frost may have thinned the crops this year, but it won’t dampen the fun in downtown Beaumont or your chance to sample the best cherry crop in SoCal. (Nancy Powell)
The 89th Annual Cherry Festival in downtown Beaumont at Orange Ave., between 8th and 11th Streets. Thurs.-Sun., June 7-10. $3-$5. www.beaumont.ca.us/cherryfestival.htm.