Cherry Blossom Fesitval promises good times for all

Despite Georgia weather’s lack of seasonal resolve, trees are beginning to bloom – just in time to welcome Macon’s annual International Cherry Blossom Festival. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the highly anticipated festivities.

With semester finals approaching faster than desired, Mercer students should take a study break and take advantage of the numerous events scheduled around Macon.

A variety of events have taken place earlier this month, but the Opening Ceremony at Central City Park will officially kick off the festival on March 21 at 11:30 a.m.

For the students who enjoy a good run, the Cherry Blossom Festival has several opportunities to put your athleticism into action. The Mud Run will take place on March 29, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The entrance fees for this event will sponsor the Hephzibah Children’s Home. For the less committed runners, test your balance and get a good laugh by participating in the High Heels Run on March 22 at 2 p.m. Men are also encouraged to sport their favorite pair of pumps and give it a shot.  The registration fee is $10, and all proceeds go to support Susan G. Komen of Central Georgia.

During the festival there will be several exciting opportunities for animal lovers. Road Kill Live with Jason Clark is a live animal show presented by Snakes R Us and Southeastern Reptile Rescue. The show will feature tortoises, possums, alligators and more, and it will present several times daily starting March 21. Camel rides will be available for $7 starting at 11 a.m. during the festival. A free petting zoo will also be available all week from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

There will be a number of concerts and performances varying in styles from choral music to country and jazz. For a complete list of the concerts available, see page 20 of The Cluster. Be sure to support your fellow Mercer brass and percussion ensembles at the Cherry Blossom Chamber Players performance at Riverside United Methodist Church on March 30 at 6 p.m. Mercer’s Children’s Choir will perform their World Music Program at the Grand Opera House on March 27 at 6 p.m.

For a blast from the American Idol past, Fantasia Barrino will be performing at Macon City Auditorium on March 28 at 8 p.m. Grammy award-winning Christian rock group Jars of Clay will also be coming to Macon during the festival for a performance at the Cox Capitol Theatre on March 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission.

Every hungry college student can appreciate opportunities for food. Central City Park Food will be available all week during the festival with vendors providing a variety of international foods as well as typical “fair food.”

Free cupcakes will be available at Amanda’s Cakery on March 24 from 11 a.m until 12 p.m. or while supplies last.

Classic festival rides will be available during the festival at Central City Park, and the Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts festival will take place on March 29 and March 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To conclude this year’s festival activities, the Tunes and Balloons Fireworks Finale will begin April 5 at 4 p.m. at Middle Georgia State College. There will be food vendors, live entertainment, hot air balloon rides and fireworks display to end the 32nd annual Cherry Blossom Festival with a bang.

For more information and a complete list of events and activities, visit www.cherryblossom.com.