Organizers say 2013 CBF a success in spite of weather

hgoodridge@macon.comMarch 24, 2013 

The Cherry Blossom Festival wrapped up on a high -- and most importantly -- dry note Sunday night at Wesleyan College.

While wet and threatening weather during the festival’s final week caused organizers to scramble for dry ground, the spirit of Macon’s most celebrated event was anything but damp.

“Everything is wonderful,” festival president and CEO Jake Ferro said during the event’s grand finale at the college.

The good times included a fair amount of running from the weather. The festival’s free ice cream and doughnut party last week was moved from Third Street Park to Terminal Station, Saturday’s Street Party was moved from Cherry Street Plaza to the Macon City Auditorium, the Mulberry Arts and Crafts Festival was moved to the farmers market on Eisenhower Parkway, the wind almost blew away the Tunes and Balloons event, the Food Truck Frenzy was canceled, and all festival activities at Central City Park also were canceled Sunday.

“We shut down Central City Park because of the deluge late (Saturday) night ... we didn’t feel it was a safe place for children and families,” said Lydia Moss, festival marketing, media and executive assistant director.

“There was so much water in Central City Park, we thought it would be unsafe for our people,” Ferro said.

Official attendance numbers were not available Sunday, but Ferro and Moss deemed this year’s festival a major success.

“The Street Party had a great turn out,” Ferro said.

Moss said some events saw record crowds.

“We had a wonderful week in spite of the weather,” Moss said. “(We were) very disappointed we canceled the Food Truck Frenzy,” Moss said adding that that decision was made by vendors and festival organizers.

“We’ve had good attendance and record attendance at Central City Park the first weekend, record attendance at the high heel race and bed race and the parade even though it was a little overcast,” Moss said.

After checking the forecast and surveying the grounds early Sunday at Wesleyan, Ferro said festival organizers determined that the finale must go on.

“Now, all we need is a couple of hours of good weather,” he said. Moments later, the sun came out.

Derek and Allana Fox parked their car at Central City Park on Sunday afternoon with daughters Gracelyn, 2, and Riley, 7.

The kids wanted to see the tiger and animal shows, but all they saw were crews packing up and big puddles of water. They didn’t knw Sunday’s activities were canceled.

“I’m disappointed,” Allana Fox said.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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