Pinkest Party On the Planet Comes to Southern City
Yoshino Cherry Trees bloom the last week in March in Macon Georgia. With more than 300,000 trees, the people of Macon say they are pinker than the folks in Washington, DC.
The first Yoshino cherry tree was planted in Macon by mistake, according to Carolyn Crayton, who moved to the city in 1970. Real estate developer Bill Fickling thought he was planting dogwoods, but apparently a tree was mislabeled. He gave cuttings to the Crayton family when they moved to town and she gave cuttings to others. Eventually, about 30,000 trees grew on the Fickling Farm.
Soon, Crayton was coordinating neighborhood plantings of almost 10,000 trees a year. Today, the city estimates there are 365,000 trees that bloom each spring. As a result, Macon became the test site for the Keep America Beautiful campaign in 1976 that now has 583 chapters in 44 states.
Macon gave Washington DC 75 trees in 1987 in honor of Lady Bird Johnson’s 75th birthday.
Macon is in growing zone 8, which is quite far south for cherry trees. The summer heat and humidity stress the trees, requiring thousands to be replanted each year.
Pink Pancakes in Macon
The pink pancake breakfast is a highlight of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Fire department volunteers serve hundreds of thousands of pancakes in the Central City Park, using a recipe that is supposedly handed down from a cook who made pancakes for Teddy Roosevelt.
The festival includes parades, arts and crafts, special gardening programs, concerts, and more. The water in city fountains runs pink, the grits are served pink, the lines in the street become pink. Real men wear pink in Macon. The pink poodles, visible in many residents’ front lawns, are adopted as fundraisers for the festival.
The free giveaway of more than 10,000 gallons of pink cherry ice cream at the visitor’s center draws a crowd. A pet fashion show often has more participants than the people fashion show and the bed race down Cherry Street capitalizes on the competitive spirit of festival-goers.
Spring in Macon Georgia
In addition to the cherry blossoms, the tulips, crocus and phlox provide a marvelous setting for the more than 100 antebellum homes in the city that survived General Sherman’s fiery march to the see concluding the Civil War. A winding river path, broad, tree-lined streets and rich architecture contribute to the overall beauty of the city, no matter what the season.
Macon has more historic homes than Savannah. The city has seven historic districts and two National Landmark Houses featuring Greek Revival style or antebellum architecture. The Douglass Theatre, where Otis Redding and James Brown were discovered, is considered an architectural treasure and is a focal point of the downtown restoration in Macon.
Macon’s Musical Heritage
Travelers to Macon often come to follow in the footsteps of the Allman Brothers, Little Richard, James Brown and Otis Redding, some of the many musicians who called Macon home. The former home of Capricorn Records, Macon still has live music venues almost every night. Grant’s Lounge and Edgar’s Bistro are to popular spots. The Bragg Jam Festival each July highlights to talents of more than 40 bands.
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