Out & About

EAR TO THE GROUND: Macon's busy season is a go!

By Leila Regan-Porter -- Telegraph columnist

This weekend marked a big kick off for me and my busy Macon calendar. It was a jam-packed few days, all signifying a big "GO!" sign for me and the Bragg Jam board.

Celebrations and hilarious fun times started with the annual 11th Hour Awards, where Bragg Jam won Best Event for the second year in a row. While we don't do all the work and effort just for the awards, something like this is always a warm and welcome reminder that the folks of Middle Georgia think we're doing a good job, and that, especially in the past few years, Bragg Jam has been moving in the right direction with all our growth and changes.

Two days later, most of Bragg Jam's board was busy again working on the Magnolia Soapbox Derby, an event that sits happily under the fiscal umbrella of Bragg Jam, and shares many of the board members, too. Again, for the second year, we had our glorious, neon-green, mohawk-topped, guitar-braced go-kart ready to take a very, very slow roll down the hill. As the derby sits under our umbrella, winning has never been a comfortable option.

So, if you're not first, you're last, right? And what better way to get all the attention and maximum marketing for our organization than riding down Magnolia Street at a snail's pace? The addition of a genuine school bus horn (courtesy of board member Andy Moore, an engineer working at Blue Bird), blasted loudly and often on our 37-second trundle down the track. I'm pretty sure we made a strong impression.

The event itself was, as it usually is, a huge, beautiful success. Not only is it a wonderful community event, but it also draws so many other groups, whether it's StreetLine and Hayiya Dance Theatre providing live entertainment, the businesses building their own branded cars, or the high schools participating in STEM programming. And then there's the hundreds of spectators of all backgrounds coming to watch the culmination of weeks and months of hard work.

For Bragg Jam, we're in the midst of those months, but for the public, this past Sunday was the kick-off of Bragg Jam Season, as I like to think of it. April 10 not only marked the start of 2016's Second Sunday concerts, but the first wave lineup of bands for Bragg Jam's 2016 Concert Crawl were also announced, right before Susto took the stage.

For the Bragg Jam entertainment committee, led by Brandon Bish and Sean Pritchard, this announcement was a culmination of countless hours of hard work and negotiations, organizing and reorganizing. While the Bragg Jam lineup is almost 100 percent wrapped up, we still have quite a few bands up our sleeve, including the headliners, that will have to wait for May 16 to be announced, so stay tuned!

For me, I'm cherishing these last few quiet nights and weekends, before the full-scale onslaught of marketing needs hit, inevitably leading to rushing home from my day job at the Otis Redding Foundation to get in an hour or so on the laptop before our fireball of a toddler rushes in. Add to the mixture the exciting new Festie Bestie events Bragg Jam will be arranging with the Macon Film Festival, plus the new Summer Theatre Festival, running July 1-16, and, well ...I don't know who can still say that Macon is a sleepy Southern town in the summer.

Leila Regan-Porter is the administrative assistant at the Otis Redding Foundation, the marketing co-chair for Bragg Jam and president of the Main Street Macon board. Follow her on Twitter@theleila.com.

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