Even thousands of miles away from home, I recognize the signs of the impending “busy season of Macon.” Not just the popping of the pale, frail cherry blossoms that line the streets, but the fountains, the art, the jackets, the dogs: Macon is awash with the hue.
The pinkest time of year doesn’t only signal Macon’s International Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place from March 16-25. It signifies the beginning of the busiest next few months for me, my colleagues and their organizations.
Once the cherry blossoms (whether real or figurative) have all fallen and the fountains have gone back to running their normal colors, on April 8, the first Second Sunday of the year will kick off Bragg Jam’s new season of free concerts in Coleman Hill park. Just days later, the 10th annual Magnolia Soap Box Derby will be upon us on Saturday, April 14.
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These two events usually happen in the same weekend, marking my favorite one of the year (ahead only of Bragg Jam, since I spend as much of that weekend as much a bundle of nerves as I do a ball of jubilant celebration and relief). But with calendars not always working the way we wish them to, this year the first Saturday of April and the second Sunday of April were not side by side, and the events are a week apart.
This year, I’m so sad to say I won’t be there to drive the Bragg Jam car down that steep hill of Magnolia Street. Not because we had a slight “engineering malfunction” last year (I won’t elaborate, but it was a good test of those safety precautions and copious amounts of hay bales that are laid out just beyond the finish line), but because I’ll still be in sunny California, just a few months away from finishing this sabbatical and moving back to Macon.
After that weekend, we’ll be speedily rolling down the proverbial hill into summer, when Bragg Jam will await us at the end with two nights of music on Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28. The concert crawl is expanding yet again, with more music on Friday night, which is surely an appropriate way for Macon’s premier music festival to celebrate 20 years.
And with that, we look forward to celebrating 20 more years of music, festivals, community and busy seasons.