Seventy years celebrating Young: a look at the Cherry Festival's history

Thousands of visitors will flock to Young this weekend for the 70th National Cherry Festival celebrations.

An annual event since 1949, the festival has become world-renowned and remains Young's biggest weekend on the calendar.

It was originally held in December known as the Cherry Week Carnival, however the following year the date was changed to October and the name to Young Spring Carnival.

According to a 1951 souvenir program, the "time proved inconvenient both to orchardists and business people".

It was a week-long festival in its early years, with Boorowa Street shutting down to cater for events.

Some highlights of past festivals include a billy-cart derby, crazy hat contest, ladies' wood-chop, baby show, pet parade, cherry eating contest, and a "special search" was held for longest resident and longest married couple in the district.

The festival is believed to have returned to December to coincide with the cherry harvest during the early 1960s.

There's always been either a Queen or King of the Carnival/Cherry Queen or King.

Young's first tourist officer and one-time organiser of the festival Bill Kearney explained more about the festival's early years.

"It was late 60s when I organised it. It was the Cherry Festival then, however I'm not sure of the exact year it changed from Young Spring Carnival," Bill Kearney said.

"They've had carnivals in different places. They're over here [Anderson Park] now, they've had Boorowa Street, Alfred Oval, they had one at the back of the weir behind the Services Club.

"The cherries are a draw card. People can pick them, buy them, people love them."

This is the 70th year of the National Cherry Festival.

The official opening is at 5pm on Friday afternoon at Anderson Park.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY? Tell us your memories of past Cherry Festivals