A Day in the Life of National Cherry Festival Director Kat Paye, ’04

Cherry Fest 2

They say life is like a bowl of cherries. For Kat Paye, ’04, it really is. Paye is the executive director of the National Cherry Festival.

Paye’s passion for the NCF began when she was a 6-year-old volunteer commissioned by her friend, Jeff — a quadriplegic whose charisma and love for life inspired her and hundreds of others to volunteer for the festival.

By twelve, her love and dedication for the festival had grown deeper. Paye volunteered to fold T-shirts, put stickers on boxes and pin tags on the wheelchair race participants. Soon, she had the starting gun in her hand and, at 20, she was the NCF’s youngest event director.

Paye earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from DU, taking classes at the Traverse City Campus in 2010. In 2012, Paye joined the festival staff full time as the operations director.

Today, Paye is the NCF’s biggest cheerleader. Follow along as DU Review documents the biggest adventure of Paye’s fruitful career: her first National Cherry Festival as the Executive Director.

A Day in the Life | Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Paye’s typical day as executive director is unpredictable. She juggles hundreds of phone calls, volunteers and staff members without hesitation. In her words, Paye’s first festival in her new role is simply a cherry pit-stop along the journey called life.

Cherry Fest Timeline
Cherry Fest Timeline
Cherry Fest Timeline


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