The Sweet Cherry Festival
Spitting cherrystones is no joke!
In the 13th century, monks from Lysekloster in Os, near Bergen, came to the Opedal estate in Lofthus. they built a hospice here, for tired wayfarers or pilgrims to rest before traveling onwards. Later on, priests that mastered the art of cultivating fruit arrived in the hamlet. Over the centuries, the ancient tradition of fruit farming in Lofthus has developed into a modern agricultural industry. This region now accounts for about 80 per cent of the total production of Sweet cherries in Norway. Springtime in Lofthus, with green-clad mountainsides and half a million fruit trees in full blossom, is an unforgettable sight. Fruit cultivation and tourism have become the core industries in Lofthus.
The Sweet Cherry Festival, which is arranged every last week in July, takes place in Lofthus. No other place could be more appropriate. Over the years, the festival has become a highly popular cultural event in the summer. It is, in fact, a highly eventful weekend combining modern and traditional activities, prominent guests and a packed program. In a bustling community life, prestige and competitiveness are high on the list, with fierce rivalry in baking, morello wine and cider. In addition, Lofthus hosts the national championship in cherrystone spitting, which is considered to be one of the major high points of the festival.
The Sweet Cherry Festival in Lofthus is a popular expression of zest and vigor, deeply rooted in tradition. The friendly atmosphere, cultural heritage and surroundings create an authentic backdrop to the arrangements. The fact that the countryside is often at its best during this period is also an added benefit. It is gratifying to note that an increasing number of people from home and abroad have made it a tradition to travel to Lofthus last week in July. Perhaps cherrystone spitting might even become an Olympic event in the future?