Walden: Springtime is just getting started

April 18, 2014 

During this month in Macon music history 32 years ago, Elvis was here. He played back-to-back shows at the Macon Coliseum, making it one of the hottest tickets this pollen-dusted town had ever seen in the spring. My guess is some of you still have the stub to prove it.

Elvis may have long left the building, but this past weekend, you didn’t need a ticket or a time machine to get in on the burning love.

In fact, if you drove within a two-mile radius alone, you’d see a soap box derby in full-throttle action along Magnolia Street, thousands flocking to Tattnall Square Park for Bearstock and another park full of people the next day at sunset, taking in the tunes of the Second Sunday concert series. You may have even found yourself thinking you had stumbled upon one of the most happening cities in the South.

In the last few weeks, a successful, re-invigorated Cherry Blossom Festival gave way to a homegrown, nearly perfect, multi-event weekend. And we’re not done yet. At Saturday’s Magnolia Street Soap Box Derby, the line-up was announced for this summer’s highly anticipated Bragg Jam Festival, which continues to stretch its size with more stages and acts than ever before.

Last Sunday’s Second Sunday was only a kick-off to more concerts, which will from happen monthly in Washington Park from now until October. In just a few short weeks, the show will be back on Mother’s Day with Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, featuring the legendary Allman Brothers Band percussionist Jai Johanny Johanson. Other acts announced include one-to-watch the AJ Ghent Band (Google them!) and Macon’s beloved Grapevine.

If April was any indication of what you’ll find every Second Sunday, then there is no better picture of fellowship in our community. Kids of all ages and sizes splashing in the fountains, strangers sharing picnic blankets and one of the best snapshots of diversity you’ll ever see are just some of the highlights. And then there is the live music, of course.

Last Friday’s showing of “Back to the Future” in Luther Williams Stadium also kicks-off more free outdoor movie screenings throughout the summer months with Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department’s Sundown Screen Series. Follow the yellow brick road to Tattnall Square Park -- or the detour signs while construction takes place to vastly improve the stretch of College Street alongside the park -- where the “Wizard of Oz” will be shown on the big outdoor screen tonight.

And Macon’s still not done with its spring dance card. The largest exhibit of functional and sculptural pottery in Georgia returns to Central City Park for the annual Fired Works exhibition and sale on April 26 for a nine-day run. Another Rose Hill Ramble and a Neel Reid Ramble are right around the corner. Rock Candy Tours is rocking and strolling with weekly reservations. All of these tours set the stage for the Hay House’s Secret Garden Tour, taking place in just a few spring weeks.

Like a little engine that could, Macon in the next few months is one event linked to another, stretching like a train and ready for you to hop on board. I don’t know if “Mystery Train” made Elvis’ set list those 32 years ago, but let’s imagine it did:

“Train train, comin’ down, down the line.”

“Train train, comin’ down, down the line.”

“Well it’s bringin’ my baby, ’cause she’s mine all, all mine.”

“She’s mine, all, all mine.”

Get out this spring and make Macon mine, yours and ours.

Jessica Walden is the director of communications for the College Hill Alliance and co-owner of Rock Candy Tours, a Macon music history tour company. Contact her at rockcandytours@gmail.com.

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