We often talk about the future like well know it when we see it, but we havent been able to put our finger on it just yet. Maybe its time to re-check our citys pulse, and if we listen closely, we realize its been beating all along.
At any given First Friday in downtown Macon, youll see feet on the street from all walks of life. Its the art exhibits, the excitement on the sidewalks, the local fare and the live music that can be heard from several street corners. Its even innovative enough to throw in pop-up boutiques, in hopes not just to lure shoppers, but to woo businesses, too.
Come out to Washington Park during a Second Sunday summer evening and witness one of the most inclusive congregations of community. Live music resounds, picnics abound, seating is shared, kids are splashing and nothing requires a label of color, money or social status. This concert season alone, the event has led more than 2,000 people to sing along.
The Bragg Jam Festival is just around the corner on the last Saturday in July. The annual, citywide festival will stretch from lower Bibb County to the tips of north Macon. While its centrifuge remains downtown, the heart of the event rests in a legacy of two brothers, a mission to give back what is earned and a signature music festival feathered in our cap.
In just a few months, more than 10,000 people are anticipating citywide tailgating to welcome back Mercer football. Events will spring up outside the stadium to support it. Local businesses will benefit. And for those of us who live here, we become townies lucky enough to have a home team.
That it factor has been here all along. It was here when Little Richard dared to be different. It was here when Otis Redding got the guts to make dreams happen. It was here when the Allman Brothers were making songs off Rose Hill tombstones. It was here when the Rev. Pearly Brown, a poor, blind street singer, went from our sidewalks to the first black man gracing the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. It is here with our newest crop of local musicians.
So this summer, lets enjoy it. Lets protect it from tangling in politics. Lets bat it by naysayers. Be a part of it. Open your eyes to it. Is it right there in front of us? Its certainly not behind us. And while there is room for more vibrancy ahead of us, I do declare, we are there now.
Jessica Walden is the director of communications for the College Hill Alliance and co-owner of Rock Candy Tours. contact her at email@example.com.