Sefrou Celebrates the 99th Edition of the Cherry Festival, June 28th – July 1, 2019

Sefrou Cherry Festival

Since 1935, the Sefrou Festival has summoned the most beautiful Moroccan ladies from all throughout Morocco to sign up for it’s Cherry Queen Pageant. One lucky lady is crowned Cherry Queen and will represent the Moroccan Kingdom. Sefrou is 30 minutes from Fes and is a historic community originally composed of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Following suit, the festival embraces a queen with any religious background. The pageant is announced on a nationwide level with the goal of attracting an increase in tourism.

Sefrou has a historic tradition of weavers who specialize in silk buttons (Laakaad). These skills were passed down to from the generation of Jewish women who once lived in the Jewish Mellah. The skills of Sefrou’s weavers who sew and design embroidery can be seen on the garments made for the Cherry Queen on coronation day. On coronation day the Cherry Queen will wear a  flowing caftan with red and green colors that symbolize the cherry and its stems. The dress takes up to 3 months to make.

Sefrou Celebrates the 99th Edition of the Cherry Festival, June 28th – July 1, 2019

Cherry Festival Queen, Compliments of UNESCO

On the final day of the festival, the Tbourida, the traditional Fantasia games take place and fantasia horsemen fire their Moroccan rifles. Thousands of locals attend and the festival draws in visitors from around the world.

Sefrou, Amazigh for “greenery of the mountain’s foot,”  was founded in 682. It is a century older than the nearby spiritual capital Fes. Sefrou resides at an altitude of 850 m and is also home to 10 m high Oued Aggay Cascades. The region’s climates produce the most delicious cherries famous for their black color and sweet taste.

The Green Morocco Plan (PMV) has given special attention to Morocco’s cherry industry. In the past years, an additional 100 cherry trees have been planted. Since the launch of PMV, the cherry sector has boomed. There is a 250% increase in cherry productivity and a 57% increase in the cherry plantation. The year 2019 recorded a harvest of 2,200 tons of cherries, an 85% increase from past years.