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Five things you might not know about the Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon cherry trees

How Bill Fickling’s grandfather cultivated a love for cherry trees

Bill Fickling tells how his grandfather, a co-founder of the Cherry Blossom Festival, grew to love Yoshino cherry trees.
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Bill Fickling tells how his grandfather, a co-founder of the Cherry Blossom Festival, grew to love Yoshino cherry trees.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival has brought thousands of people to Macon every year to enjoy the Yoshino trees and experience the many events that take place during the 10 day festival.

“It’s the one time a year that just really creates a purpose and a sense of place for Macon,” said Stacey Moore, the president and CEO of the Cherry Blossom Festival. “It’s the one event that kind of brings everybody together and has something for everyone.”

The Cherry Blossom Festival continues long standing traditions as well as introduces new aspects each year. Here are a few facts you might not know about the Cherry Blossom Festival, as the favorite festival gets ready to kick off next week.

Wait, how many cherry trees?

More than 350,000 cherry trees are planted in Macon, according to the Cherry Blossom Festival’s website. The distribution of cherry trees in Macon started with William A. Fickling Sr., who discovered a Yoshino cherry tree in his backyard, according to the website.

After researching the tree and finding and how to grow more of them, he started distributing them throughout Macon, according to the website.

The tradition continues

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival will be the 38th festival since its origin in 1982. The festival was created with the backing of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, according to the website.

Carolyn Crayton, the executive director of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission, asked Fickling to provide trees for the Wesleyan Woods neighborhood, according to the website.

After the trees were planted in 1972, she proposed the idea of a festival to honor the trees and Fickling for bringing them to Macon.

From there, the tradition was born.

A nation every year

The Cherry Blossom Festival has featured nations every year. This year the nations include Japan, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Italy, Mexico and India, according to the website.

Representatives of each nation will attend the opening ceremonies, the parade and the Lantern Lighting event, according to the website.

There’s an app for that

The Cherry Blossom Festival has a mobile app for Android and iPhone users, Stacey Moore said. She said it is a great tool to plan your itinerary for the festival.

“It’s a really fun feature to use, and it makes it really easy to kind of make sure you get to everything you want to come to,” Moore said.

See the trees bloom from your living room

Earthcam, Visit Macon and Wesleyan College have set up a live webcam in order for people to watch the Yoshino cherry blossoms bloom in real time.

Watch the first blooms here.

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Jenna Eason is a multimedia reporter at The Telegraph and creates serviceable news around food, culture and people who make a difference in the Macon community. Jenna joined The Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2018 with a journalism degree.
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