Mr. Bonez, a 13-year-old dog from Disc-Connected K9’s World Famous Frisbee Show, catches a Frisbee high in the air Friday night at the Chokecherry Festival in Williston. All dogs in the show are rescued dogs.

WILLISTON – The 16th annual North Dakota Chokecherry Festival in Williston not only served free ice cream and pancakes dipped in chokecherry syrup, but attendees were also treated to awesome entertainment and shopping opportunities Friday evening and Saturday all day.

The annual Chokecherry Festival began after Williston sixth graders completed a letter to North Dakota lawmakers proposing that chokecherry be made the official state fruit of North Dakota. This letter inspired legislation, and since 2007 the festival has celebrated the chokecherry, which has become the official state fruit of North Dakota. The event has grown every year since its conception.

This year’s event kicked off Friday afternoon with Nemont sponsoring a 1,000 burger meal and the American State Bank sponsoring free ice cream for dessert with chokecherry syrup.

Saturday morning started early at 8 a.m. with a free pancake feed prepared by the Williston Korner Lions and gave attendees another chance to smother something – this time pancakes in chokecherry syrup. Sausages and juices were also served. The syrup came from Dakota Berry in Jamestown.

The event had many local food and drink trucks on hand for those thirsty or hungry. A truck was serving cherry lemonade.

Minot’s Chloe Marie was one of many singers headlining the entertainment this weekend at the 16th annual North Dakota Chokecherry Festival held in Williston.

Entertainment for the event varied widely and included many musical performers, a mini train that provided free rides, Williston’s Drum and Bugle Corps, the BMV Entertainment BMX bike stunt show, a late Friday night outdoor movie and Disc-Connected K9’s famous frisbee dogs. Show performed entirely by rescued dogs.

Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow was on hand for an impromptu sword fight and to pose with festival-goers for a photo. Sparrow was seen handing out gold plastic treasure tokens. Joshua the Ventriloquist was there with his humorous, talking stuffed parrot to entertain and also make balloons. The Cliff Hangers 4×4 Club of Williston displayed their 4x4s and gave away two radio-controlled trucks as door prizes.

Trevour Meyer Cartoons was doing caricatures of people and there was a sandbox coin hunt for kids. Dollar coins were buried in the sand volleyball court and the children scrambled to find them by digging and sifting the sand, creating lots of dust as well as a few smiles.

The event also featured many vendors from many genres selling their wares. Jewellery, clothing, stickers, jams, jellies and a host of other items were seized. Other events include a cornhole tournament, chokecherry spitting contest, story time at the library and, of course, the usual Davidson Park playground equipment to keep kids and adults entertained.

Miss Teen Chokecherry Aubrianna Staloch was on hand for photos and autographs.

The ice cream was served with a delicious chokecherry syrup topping on Friday night, sponsored by the American State Bank at the 16th Annual Williston Festival in North Dakota, in Williston.

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