The basics: What you need to know to get started

March 15, 2013 

Festival coverage, all day and every day, only from and the Telegraph

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How it all began

Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival was first organized to celebrate the city’s Yoshino cherry trees and the March 23 birthday of the late William A. Fickling Sr. In 1949, Fickling discovered the first such tree in Macon, although he didn’t know what kind of tree it was at the time. He learned how to propagate the Yoshinos and began sharing them with the community. As the years passed, the number of Macon’s Yoshino cherry trees grew quickly, attracting the attention of longtime residents and newcomers alike. One particular admirer struck by their beauty was Carolyn Crayton, who proposed launching a Cherry Blossom Festival to honor Fickling and to showcase the beauty of the trees. It began with 30 events and about 30,000 trees.

Information booths

• Cherry Blossom Festival Headquarters, 794 Cherry St. Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. (478) 751-7429.

• Central City Park Information Booth, Cherry Market, Building No. 13. Opens at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. Sundays.

• Cherry Blossom Festival Souvenir Shop, 652 Mulberry St. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. (478) 741-3883.

• Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 450 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. (800) 768-3401.

Gift Shop

Cherry Blossom Festival official souvenirs, the Library Ballroom, 652 Mulberry St. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily during the festival. 741-3883.

About the trees

The cherry trees in Washington, D.C., may draw more attention, but word of Macon’s beauty during March has spread far and wide during the years. Macon was designated the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the United States” in the 1983 Congressional Record by former U.S. Rep. J. Roy Roland. Later, the Japanese consul general named Macon the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World.” The festival is routinely featured in national publications and travel guides. Estimates of the number of trees in the city range from 275,000 to more than 300,000. The trees’ blooms don’t always coincide with the festival, or course. But when they burst forth, they provide breathtaking beauty.

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