Enjoy the great outdoors during cherry Blossom Festival

March 21, 2014 


Runners both male and female race down Cherry Street in Macon during the high heel race during the Cherry Blossom Festival last year. The race was also a breast cancer charity event.

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

Walkers and runners have several opportunities to stretch their legs in both racing and cultural events during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Spring Spirit Stroll

This one-hour walking tour of Historic Riverside Cemetery offers a glimpse into the lives of some of Macon’s former residents. The strolls start at 6 p.m. daily March 21-30 from the cemetery’s Gate House and the cost is $10 per person.

The stroll is a scaled-down version of the Spirits in October event the cemetery holds in the fall.

“Instead of being an after-dark tour, it’s daylight,” said Suzanne Doonan, the cemetery’s director of conservancy. “It is just a way for people to experience the tour in a different season and in a more informal way. ... It’s also an opportunity to revisit those stories for those who came in October or to be introduced to them for those who’ve never come before.”

“These stories are based on real people’s lives and really bring history to life in a very touching and compelling way,” Doonan said.

Revenues from the stroll help preserve the cemetery, which dates to 1887.

Ocmulgee National Monument Lantern Light Tours

Archaeological evidence suggests Ocmulgee was inhabited for thousands of years and the lantern tours offer a chance to see the grounds in a new light.

“On top of that (Temple) mound at night is spectacular,” said Ocmulgee Superintendent Jim David. “In one direction, you are looking into the bright lights of Macon and in the other direction you just see the complete darkness of the Old Fields area.”

The tours will run from 7:30-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday and March 28-30. Admission is $5 for ages 13 and older. Children 12 and younger are free.

Visitors will be given candle lanterns to carry and can either walk the trails on their own or take part in guided tours that will leave every half hour, David said.

We have luminaries on the trail from the Visitor Center to the top of the Great Temple Mound,” he said. “So the whole trail is lined with luminaries. The tour talks about the 12,000-year history of the park and stops at a few places like the Earth Lodge and the Trading Post.”

High Heels for the Cure Fun Run

This newer festival event offers participants a chance to try running in high heels while raising money for breast cancer. The race will start at 2 p.m. Saturday after the Bed Race on Cherry Street.

“It benefits Susan G. Komen and we’ve had everybody from little kids wearing the smallest size high heels they make to (former Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Commander) Gen. (Robert) McMahon who ran last year in size 13 high heels that he had to have special ordered,” said Sean Pritchard, business manager for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The course is short, up Cherry Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Third Street.

“They have prizes for all of the winners and as far as I know you can register the day of as long as you’ve got the shoes you need,” Pritchard said. Registration is $10 on site.

Other Events

• CHERRY BLOSSOM ROAD RACE FOR WESLEY GLEN: This run offers a one-mile fun course as well as 5K and 10K options with the longer courses passing what might be cherry blossoms in bloom along Rivoli Road. The race starts at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at Howard Middle School on Forsyth Road. Registration opens at 7:15 a.m. $16 fun run, $26 5K or 10K, $42 to run both.

• MACON MUD RUN: All ages have an opportunity to cross more than 20 obstacles and 100 mud pits for this returning event. The races start at 10:30 a.m. March 29 with heats scheduled throughout the day. Participants can choose from a 5K or 7K course while kids can do a one-mile mini-mud. $15 mini-mud, $60 5K $70 10K. Online registration closes March 26 and last year’s race sold out.

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