Cheerwine and the City of Salisbury Switch to Virtual Cheerwine Festival

Virtual Cheerwine Festival Banner

After careful consideration and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as state and federal agencies, Cheerwine and the City of Salisbury, N.C., have decided to cancel this year’s Cheerwine Festival, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 16.

“Our main priority is the safety and health of not only attendees, but everyone involved with the Cheerwine Festival,” said Joy Ritchie Harper, vice-president of marketing for Cheerwine and fifth-generation founding family member. “This decision did not come easily, but we look forward to seeing all the people who travel from near and far to celebrate with us and our families at next year’s festival.”

“We were optimistic at the outset of recent events that there might be an opportunity to move forward with the Cheerwine Festival,” said W. Lane Bailey, Salisbury city manager. “After closely monitoring the situation since mid-March, we made the difficult call late last week to cancel the event. We appreciate the support from Cheerwine fans across the country as we all deal with the effects this pandemic has had on us all. We look forward to hosting the 2021 Cheerwine Festival.”

In place of the street festival, Cheerwine and the City of Salisbury will host a virtual Cheerwine Festival on Saturday, May 16, for fans to enjoy from the comfort of home. The online event will feature live virtual performances from the originally scheduled 2020 Cheerwine Festival bands. The Festival organizers will announce additional details, including how fans can join in and how to support your favorite Festival vendors and downtown Salisbury businesses, in the coming weeks.

And while festival attendees will have to wait until May 15, 2021 to celebrate in the streets of historic downtown Salisbury, Cheerwine is still debuting its 2020 Festival t-shirt as a way to raise funds for Rowan County United Way. All profits from the sale of the shirts will go to the organization’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

The t-shirt’s original artwork is by Johnathan Marcus Woods, the grand prize winner of the inaugural Cheerwine Festival t-shirt design contest. Earlier this year, the family-owned soft drink invited all of its fans to submit their original designs for consideration.

“I really wanted to capture the joy and whimsy the Cheerwine brand embodies,” Woods says of the inspiration for his design. “I took inspiration from retro cartoons to add a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity to the design.”

He emphasized the cherry iconography and provided a playful, fresh visual take on the “Cherry” and its personality.

Wood’s t-shirt will be available at for preorders. For more information on Cheerwine, visit For further details about the cheerwine festival, visit

Cheerwine: Uniquely Southern

Created in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, Cheerwine is a one-of-a-kind soft drink with a unique cherry flavor. It is an iconic brand from Salisbury, North Carolina. Owned by the Carolina Beverage Corporation, the 103-year-old company is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family, five generations of whom have worked there. Cliff Ritchie leads Cheerwine as president and CEO. Available in supermarkets, restaurants, mass merchandisers and convenience stores in select states nationwide and For more information, follow Cheerwine on Facebook at or on Twitter and Instagram @drinkcheerwine

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