Cherry tree blossoms start blooming in Macon

Let the blossoming begin.

The festival fretting, too.

Some of the area’s beloved Yoshino cherry trees are, in the tiniest of clusters, sporting early samples of their prized petals – with the Cherry Blossom Festival still more than a week away.

So will the regal trees’ lacy valentines be at their prime come tourist time?

Randell Hunt, the city of Macon’s horticulturist, thinks they will.

His best guess for full-blown blooming: March 25.

“I don’t think they will be super, super early,” Hunt said.

“I think they’re gonna be right on time.”

He said the March 1 snowfall didn’t hurt the trees.

“They’re still red on the tips and they’re ready to bloom,” Hunt said.

A stroll through downtown’s Third Street Park on Wednesday offered a first glimpse of pre-spring pink.

The tips of a few branches on the otherwise barren Yoshinos are adorned with flecks of their trademark creamy flowers.

With the 10-day Cherry Blossom Festival set to open a week from Friday, organizers aren’t worried.

“Not yet,” festival spokeswoman Stacy Campbell said.

“As far as we can tell, everything’s fine and on time. By the time they start blooming, it takes a good two weeks to run the cycle. If you figure we’re a week out and you’ve got the week of the festival to come, it should be timed about right,” Campbell said. “We hope.”