Another Cherry Blossom Festival has come and gone, and looking back on it, I think the festival is growing in ways no one expected.
All of our favorite events, such as the bed race, the parade and Tunes and Balloons, are still going strong. We saw the Cherry Blossom Festival properly prepare for the rain with a plan to save the Street Party and the Mulberry Street Arts Festival. Kudos to Cherry Blossom headquarters for making sure everyones favorite events still happened regardless of the weather.
However, what caught my eye this year was the unexpected events that helped spread the pink love of Macon a little bit farther.
We saw the Middle Georgia Derby Demons, Macons roller derby team, compete in what was billed as the Cherry Blossom Brawl. The ladies of the MGDD are hoping the Cherry Blossom Festival match-up will become a yearly event.
Mercer Universitys basketball teams lived on into the post season for both the men and the ladies. Though these games were not festival events, it was a little something extra that gave us an even stronger sense of pride during the time we celebrate Macon. For those watching the NIT, it was exciting to hear Macon getting talked about on a national level.
Country music superstar Blake Shelton played a free show at Whiskey River that had people lining up as early as 1 p.m. to be sure they made it in to hear him play.
The biggest bonus of all was Elton John playing at the Macon Coliseum during the festival. A record crowd turned out to hear Elton John sing all of their favorite songs. With the turnout for this event, Macon may have finally gotten the monkey off its back that we dont buy tickets to concerts. I hope having a big concert will become part of the Cherry Blossom Festival tradition in future years.
I think this year we began to realize our potential for being an entertainment destination and using one of our favorite times of the year as a vehicle for that potential.
Next year, I would like to see a Macon Food Festival added to the mix, where local restaurants show off all they have to offer.
Congratulations, Macon, on a great festival this year. Lets think pink all year long and make next year even better.
Contact Roger Riddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.