City Home > News

Traverse City's 125th Birthday: A Virtual Celebration

by Benjamin Marentette
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Traverse City, MI -- In celebration of Traverse City’s 125th birthday, a community virtual “Quarantine Quasquicentennial” birthday party is planned over the weekend of May 15-18, 2020. Traverse City was incorporated on May 18, 1895, and will celebrate its 125th birthday on Monday, May 18, 2020. The community is invited to partake in the virtual celebration with several fun opportunities to celebrate Traverse City’s people, history, natural features, culture, and strong sense of place.

 Shared Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk for the City of Traverse City, “the City was thinking of having a festive community celebration to celebrate TC turning 125, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, original in-person plans were unfortunately canceled. While we may not be able to blow out 125 candles on her cake together, we certainly can have a birthday bash of a different kind!” 

 In partnership with the City of Traverse City, Traverse City Tourism, and the National Cherry Festival, City of Traverse City City Commissioner Ashlea Walter rallied to organize a virtual birthday party to commemorate this milestone and give community members something to celebrate while safely staying home and social distancing. Walter had pondered, “if one of my best friends were to have a milestone birthday party during the pandemic and we couldn’t celebrate in person, what would I do for her? I would want to throw her a virtual party and show her how much our community loved her.”

TC Bingo

Traverse City Tourism will offer a free Traverse City BINGO game. People are invited to explore a fun sampling of historic, natural, and cultural features of Traverse City. Printable and fun for all ages to explore together. BINGO cards can be accessed here:

Players can drop off their completed BINGO card with contact information to the National Cherry Festival office by May 31. Participants will be sent two certificates for a free slice of pie by the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Kat Paye, Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival, shared “The National Cherry Festival is thrilled to be able to help Traverse City celebrate such a milestone. We thought what better way to celebrate than with a slice of cherry pie!” 

Explore TC’s Great Outdoors

Traverse City’s Norte invites community members to celebrate by biking, walking, running, skipping, or strolling a safe and healthy 125, 12.5, 1.25 or .125 miles around Traverse City. Norte Executive Director, Ty Schmidt, added “we love Traverse City and encourage our friends and neighbors to safely explore and remain active every day. This is a special opportunity to enjoy our beautiful neighborhoods and open spaces and celebrate TC’s birthday. Outside is still not canceled!” More here:

Celebrate virtually at 5 p.m. on May 18 with your favorite Traverse City-crafted beverage. Responsibly enjoy your favorite Traverse City beverage of choice and virtually toast to Traverse City safely at home. 


Other Fun Ways to Celebrate

Organizers are encouraging community members to celebrate virtually and safely at home and share on social media/with your family with these other ideas. Opined Traverse City Mayor, Jim Carruthers, “It’s an honor to be Mayor of Traverse City for our 125 birthday! Sadly due to this crisis, we can’t celebrate publicly as a community, but we can join together virtually, so please join in the celebration.”

  • Sidewalk chalk art: I love TC because X
  • 1895 TC fashion
  • 1895 TC food
  • Share on social media your favorite things, places, people or events in TC
  • Celebrate by ordering take-out from your favorite TC business
  • Learn a new fun fact about TC history and share on social media
  • Send a thank you card to your favorite TC community leader 
  • Ring bells, pots and pans at 8 p.m.
  • Make a list of your favorite 125 things about Traverse City and share on social media
  • Share on social media how you say “quasquicentennial”

 Some of our area leaders and changemakers are going to be singing Happy Birthday to Traverse City and talking about what they love about T.C… look for that later!