Family fun, kid-friendly events flavor Cherry Blossom Festival

March 15, 2013 

Kids have their pick of “sweet, pink food” and family fun as the Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening weekend includes a number of events geared toward families.

Tunes and Balloons

Gates open at 4 p.m., balloons glow at 8 p.m. Saturday at Middle Georgia State College.

“It’s one of our most family-friendly events because of the low ($5) ticket price,” said Sean Pritchard, a program coordinator with the Cherry Blossom Festival. “Children 6 and under are free.”

This year’s event has kid’s activities that include inflatables, obstacle courses and face painting. As always, there will be live music and hot air balloons.

“We have a great group called Hey Kid! that will definitely appeal to a younger audience,” Pritchard said. “It’s more something you would find on Nickelodeon ... very interactive music.”

The Travis Denning Band, which has a country and rock sound, will be headlining.

There will be 15 hot-air balloons including two special shapes. One of those is a giant skunk and the other is a giant daisy in a flower pot known as “Miss Daisy.”

“It’s one of the biggest ones we’ve ever had,” Pritchard said of “Miss Daisy.”

While there will be food vendors on site, the event is picnic friendly, “but we ask no glass containers and no pets, please,” Pritchard said. Because of limited parking, visitors are encouraged to carpool.

St. Patrick’s Day at the Park

Happening noon-2:30 p.m. Sunday at Central City Park.

Since Sunday’s festival overlaps with St. Patrick’s Day, there will be some additional activities, said Linda Maddox, who is the festival’s executive director of Central City Park.

“As much as we love pink, we’re trying to push a lot of green, too,” she said. “We’re trying to make Central City Park the pinkest park in Macon, but on this Sunday ... we’re just celebrating green as much as we can with the pink.”

The special St. Patrick’s Day activities include a performance by Hey Kid! at noon, a green applesauce-eating contest, a Leprechaun dress-up contest for kids and green margaritas for adults.

Cherry Blossom Parade

The “It’s a Pink, Pink World” parade begins at 3:30 p.m. on Cherry Street.

“This is probably one of the largest parades that we’ve had in awhile,” said Brandon Gardner, a program coordinator with the festival. “This year it is really diverse. We have a mariachi band that is pretty new, we have superheroes ... also cartoon characters like Dora the Explorer and Hello Kitty! ... PBS is in the parade too this year so they’re bringing Curious George.”

The parade, which will have more than 100 entries, also will include the usual Cherry Blossom Festival royalty and local marching bands. Col. Mitchel Butikofer, who is commander of the 78th Air Base Wing at Robins Air Force Band, is the grand marshal while Robert McDuffie is the music grand marshal and AC Pup is the animal grand marshal. Petals the pink poodle will come last.

Other events

• Third Street Park: As the festival rolls into the week, Third Street Park will be open from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. There will be free live music, carriage rides and cherry ice cream. This year also will include doughnuts. “Lots and lots of sweet, pink food,” Pritchard said.

• White Bengal tigers: Exciting, educational and fun, the Bengal tiger show will be at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; noon, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. March 16-17 and 23; and noon 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. March 24.

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