Macon’s International Cherry Blossom Festival has been a local tradition for almost 30 years. The annual festivities are held every year in Central City Park and have provided fun for families in the Macon area as well as out-of-state and even international visitors.
This year, more than 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees will bloom and the festival is expected to draw record-breaking crowds. This 10-day festival will feature over 500 events, and 80 percent of them are free.
A good way to socialize, volunteer and enjoy the spirit of Macon? You do the math.
Though the pink décor and wide range of activities typically draw large crowds, many think that the festival only takes place in Central City Park. However, downtown Macon also hosts events for the annual celebration including the crowd-pleasing bed race competition.
On Saturday March 19, starting at 1:00 p.m., teams from all over the Middle Georgia area will show everyone their finest threads while racing down Cherry Street. The competition is popular with local businesses and organizations, each team developing a spectacular theme for their racing model.
This year, judges will evaluate entries based on four categories. The categories include Most Original Bed, Judges’ Choice, Funniest Bed and Fastest Bed on Cherry. The competition is lighthearted and a great way for people in the community to partake in Cherry Blossom festivities.
Last year’s bed race event produced a large crowd of more than 100 street viewers. The racecourse began at Acapulco Mexican restaurant and ended down by Martin Luther King Blvd.
Though there is an initial entry fee of $50, teams are encouraged to sign up early to secure a space to compete. To participate in the race, it is also necessary to sign up for the competition in advance.
Teams are also responsible for designing their own race units. Teams are advised to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to properly prepare for their run down Cherry Street.
One rule for the legendary race that is often hard to follow is that the bed or racing device must be under control at all times before, during and after the race. This may seem like an easy step to follow, but most racers and viewers can agree that the task is daunting.
Though the contest is commonly associated as a true-to-form bed race, mattresses are not a requirement. This event beams creativity and encourages teams to bring their sparkling ideas to life. Some teams in the past have even used materials such as wood, bicycles and objects constructed with paper-mâché.
Contestants are also encouraged to literally show off their finest threads by dressing up according to the theme of their race entry. This feature of the competition has also become an event ritual and has proven to be a massive crowd pleaser.
The International Cherry Blossom Festival has provided many fun events for the Middle Georgia Community, and students are highly encouraged to attend the pinkest party on earth. Whether it’s the prominent street parties, the parade or simply volunteering to lend a helping hand, the festival is a great way to get involved in the local community and reap the benefits of everything Macon has to offer.