The National Cherry Festival is an annual celebration of the tart red fruit which Young and the wider Hilltops Region are famous for producing. If you like cherries (and seriously, who doesn't?) you should definitely pencil the first weekend in December into your calendar.
Young knows how to celebrate its famed fruit and turns on a real party complete with all of the things you'd ordinarily expect from a country festival but with a few unexpected twists. There is a street parade, a Christmas street market and the Young and Region Farmers Market. But how about the cherries? Don't worry, they are the cherry on top of the festivities. The National Cherry Festival includes the announcement of the Cherry King and Queen and hosts a couple of fiercely fought competitions: the cherry pie eating championship and the cherry pip spitting competition. Don't think too hard about that second one, just enjoy the strange skill in its seed spitting glory.
The National Cherry Festival lands smack bang at the height of cherry-picking season so take advantage and get your cherry fix. You can take a cherry orchard tour for $10 which includes return coach travel or if you prefer a bit more flexibility, plenty of orchards offer a pick-your-own option. And if you want the cherries minus the hard work, most orchards offer cherries by the box at roadside stalls too and they are always cheaper and fresher than anything you'd find at the supermarket.
Accommodation in Young is limited so if you want to make your stay an overnighter, book ahead. Otherwise, the drive time from Canberra is a little over two hours through beautiful countryside (and plenty of cherry orchards).