College Hill Alliance has plenty on tap for residents this weekend

From a scavenger hunt to a movie to live music, the College Hill Alliance is hoping to keep residents occupied this weekend.

The festivities begin today with the Downtown Look-Around scavenger hunt designed to help new students at Mercer University learn about Macon’s downtown.

That event kicks off at 4 p.m. at the parking deck at the corner of Poplar Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It’s designed for teams of four to learn about the downtown nightlife. The winning team wins “downtown dollars” that can be redeemed at restaurants and businesses downtown.

The scavenger hunt is followed by a concert at 6:30 p.m. at Cherry Street Plaza in front of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Macon-born actress Carrie Preston of the HBO series “True Blood” will be in town Saturday to offer insight into Hollywood for aspiring actors before hosting a screening of the independent movie, “Lovely By Surprise.”

“It’s just a really interesting, beautiful, haunting, quirky little film,” Preston said. “It just came out on DVD.”

The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Coleman Hill at no charge. The event is being co-sponsored by the Alliance and the Macon Film & Video Festival.

Earlier Saturday, Preston will speak to aspiring actors and people interested in the Hollywood experience with a question-and-answer session at Theatre Macon at 2:30 p.m. The cost of that session is $5.

“They wanted me to talk about being an artist,” she said.

Coincidentally, it’s also the same weekend as the season finale for “True Blood” on Sunday night.

“I didn’t even think about that — it’s a big weekend for me,” said Preston with a chuckle. “I’ll probably be watching it with my mom. I don’t think I’ve ever watched the show with anyone before.”

The show has built a big following, and Preston said its ratings are the best for HBO since “The Sopranos” ended. Preston said the show has the same sort of loyal following that follows “Lost,” the ABC series in which her husband, actor Michael Emerson, stars.

Preston said she’s currently shooting the movie “Bag of Hammers” in Los Angeles with a cast that includes Jason Ritter and Rebecca Hall, whom Preston worked with in the movie “Vicky Christina Barcelona.”

The weekend concludes with the alliance’s monthly Second Sunday concert/picnic series at Washington Park, featuring musical act Bo Ponder. The series returns to a noon start after having evening concerts the past two months.

For more information about the weekend, visit the alliance’s Web site at