Cherry Blossom Festival

Celebrate the last day of Cherry Blossom Festival with hot air balloons, Macon Pops

There’s plenty to see and do — and eat — this weekend as 2019’s International Cherry Blossom Festival heads toward its family-friendly finale Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. at Middle Georgia State University.

Featured then will be plenty of space to spread blankets or set up lawn chairs to enjoy picnics or food bought from vendors. Free bounce houses and kid zones will be open along with tethered hot air balloon rides, an evening balloon glow plus a Macon Pops concert with fireworks concluding festivities.

Gate admission is $5 with free entry for children under 10.

Tethered balloon rides are $10 with fees going to pilots for fuel. Most other activities are free upon entry.

While showers were expected Sunday morning, the weather is expected to clear in the afternoon and the concert, inflatables and fireworks will go on as planned, according to the the festival’s Facebook page on Sunday. “The balloons are weather permitting.”

“We’re really excited about the fun our Tunes and Balloons finale brings and our new partnership with the Macon Pops this year,” said Stacy Moore, Cherry Blossom Festival president and CEO.

The Macon Pops will present “A Legacy of Song,” billed as a celebration honoring music legends who’ve died recently.

“We’ve sadly lost so many,” said Steve Moretti of the Macon Pops. “Greg Allman, Prince, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Glen Frey, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau — too many to name now but we’ll be doing 18 or 20 songs. And what a remarkable variety, really something for everybody. It’s a great chance for us to tip our hat, say thank you for the memories and once again enjoy some of the best music ever. We’re really honored to partner with the Cherry Blossom Festival and be part of what it means to the community and those who come from across the country and the world. We’re excited about collaborating for years to come.”

Moretti said the concert will begin at 6 p.m. and the Macon Pops orchestra and other activities will be centered at the northeast campus of Middle Georgia State behind tennis courts and physical education buildings.

Moore said there will be 10 or more hot air balloons with about half of them offering tethered rides. The balloon glow will begin at dusk. Service animals are welcome at the event, general pets are not.

Moore said with Tunes and Balloons returning to Middle Georgia State College after several years at Wesleyan College, Wesleyan will host a family fun and movie night March 29 beginning at 6 p.m. with food trucks and family activities then a showing at 8 p.m. of Disney Pixar’s “Coco.”

Other popular remaining Cherry Blossom Festival events are listed at the festival’s website, including the popular Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival March 30-31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s also Saturday morning’s Pink Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. presented by the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department at Central City Park.

“The festival is such great fun all around,” Moretti said. “I’ve loved it since coming to Macon 12 years ago and since focusing on the Macon Pops the last six years, how great is it to have the opportunity to partner and be part of such a fun day for families and the close of the festival. Let’s all have a great time.”

Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

“Tunes and Balloons Festival Finale”

Where: Middle Georgia State University, 100 University Parkway

When: 4-8:30 p.m. March 31

Cost: $5, Children under 10 free

Information: www.maconpops.com, www.cherryblossom.com/event/tunes-and-balloons

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