Cherry Blossom Festival provides fun for the whole family

March 21, 2014 

Cherry_Blossom

The team from GEC Consultants pushed a locomotive complete with pink smoke down Cherry Street during last year’s Cherry Blossom Festival Bed Race. The event this year will be one of several fun family events to watch Saturday on Cherry Street.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH — gblankenship@macon.com Buy Photo

Opening weekend of the “Pinkest Party on Earth” means lots of opportunities to get out and enjoy a range of family-friendly Cherry Blossom Festival events.

William Fickling Sr. Birthday Bash

Fireworks, cake and Japanese drummers are highlights of this new event meant to honor the man who first discovered the Yoshino cherry trees in his Macon yard.

“That’s Mr. Fickling’s birthday, so it’s always followed the pattern that somewhere in Macon there are blossoms that are blooming,” said Sean Pritchard, business manager for the festival. “We felt this was another way to honor that legacy.”

The party starts at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Central City Park. The event is free but there is a $10 parking fee. There will be a cake cutting at 6 p.m. and music from the Matsuriza Taiko Drummers. This will differ from the Founder’s Day event, which also features cake, and is held later in the week at Third Street Park.

“This is sort of a precursor to the Founder’s Day to specifically honor just Mr. Fickling,” Pritchard said. “There will be a little formal ceremony done at Central City Park with members of the Fickling family and members of the festival that have been involved since its creation.”

The party will end with fireworks, Pritchard said.

“We’d like to promote it as a way to conclude that first fun weekend at the park and prepare people for what’s next to come with the festival,” he said.

Geico Pinkadelic Blossom Parade

Before the birthday bash, downtown Macon will play host to the annual parade, which features floats, international visitors, community groups, costumed characters, festival royalty and grand marshal Alan Walden, who is famous for co-founding Capricorn Records.

“He is sort of the ambassador of Macon music and given the theme of this year’s event, it felt appropriate,” Pritchard said.

The parade will start at 3 p.m. Sunday but some new pre-party activities will kick off at 1 p.m.

“We will have a ‘Soul Train’ kind of block party parade kickoff,” Pritchard said. “So right there in the (Third Street) plaza, people can come there and there will be dance contests and a DJ playing ’60s and ’70s hits.”

This year’s parade also will cover an extra block of terrain. The parade typically travels up Cherry Street to First Street and then back down Mulberry Street, but this year the parade will continue to New Street before turning.

Bed Race

Cherry Street is the site for a number of opening weekend activities including the annual Bed Race, when teams really do race beds down the road. The race starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The race is held in heats with each team racing up Cherry Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Third Street. There are prizes for the fastest, but also awards given for most original design, funniest bed and judge’s choice.

The Bed Race will anchor a number of events along Cherry Street on Saturday. At 10 a.m., teams will try to pull a 60,000-pound semi-truck to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. The Bed Race is then followed by the High Heel Race at 2 p.m. and the Macon-Bibb Firefighters Competition at 3 p.m.

“All of that is going on in that area so that is something people can do in addition to the Bed Race,” Pritchard said.

Other events

• PINK-A-DOODLE CHILDREN’S SIDEWALK CHALK: As Cherry Street fills up for racing, kids can have their own fun with art. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, kids can decorate the walkway in Third Street Park.

• DIXIE DISC DOGS CHAMPIONSHIPS: This annual Frisbee dog event returns to Central City Park with a day of tournaments and a day of demonstrations. From 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, there will be tournament-style competition with categories for different ages and types of disc throws. Sunday, there will be animal shows at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The events are all free for spectators.

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