Changing the Cherry Blossom Festivals traditional ball gala to a military ball for the first time has accomplished more than one goal.
Michele Ferro, who is co-chairwoman of Friday nights new Pink, White and Blue Military Ball at the Macon City Auditorium, said the idea to change things up with the gala grew from a conversation between Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert and her husband, festival President and CEO Jake Ferro.
Its a semi-new event, she said. The festival will always have a ball, but this is the first year we decided to make it a military ball. Hopefully, we can make a tradition where we can honor all military people, both active and veterans.
When her husband and Reichert were conversing, they recalled that Macon used to host an annual military ball, but that had fallen by the wayside, Michele Ferro said.
Jake and the mayor decided to have it during Cherry Blossom time, she said. Hence, its the Pink, White and Blue Ball, which pulls in the Cherry Blossom theme into the military aspect.
Ferro said, if anything, the new look will make the ball even more grand than previous years.
The ball has always been a premiere event for the festival, she said. But after 31 years, its exciting to change things up a little bit.
While the ball traditionally is a black-tie event, members of the military are being encouraged to wear their dress uniforms. Proceeds from the ball will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
There will be a military Humvee parked outside of the event and the American flag will be projected on a large screen behind the stage for the evening.
Ferro said the festivals royal court, as well as visiting queens and princesses from other festivals, will enter the ball under an archway of swords held by members of the Baldwin High School Junior ROTC.
It will showcase both -- the military and the royalty, she said.
Ferro said her husband drafted her to organize the ball alongside Melanie Byas, marketing director for the Museum of Arts & Sciences. Everyone working on the event is a volunteer, Ferro said.
The Atlanta-based seven-piece band Brookwood Split will provide live music, ranging from the 1940s to the present. In addition, Ferro said, local restaurants have donated desserts for the event.
The centerpieces for the table will be provided by members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Macon.
Ferro said the festival has been coordinating with Robins Air Force Base, and organizers are expecting a large contingent from the base.
There were some tables still available as of Thursday afternoon, she said, as well as seats in the balcony that can be purchased at the door.
Tickets are on sale through the Mercer University Ticket Office at the Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.
For more information about the ball, visit www.cherryblossom.com/events/cherry-blossom-gala.