In the spring time, cherry blossoms bloom around the world. Macon, Georgia is no exception. These pretty petals have been a city staple for quite some time. They are a welcoming sign of spring and fun in Middle Georgia- particularly with events such as the International Cherry Blossom Festival. Cherry trees are only in full and glorious bloom for a few days. Then the petals begin to fall and soon these bright, fragrant clouds of color have disappeared. Why are cherry blossoms so appealing? We will explore this question and look into the meaning and symbolism of cherry blossoms, cherry trees, as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival.
In order to fully appreciate all that the Cherry Blossom festival has to offer, it helps to understand all of the symbolism associated with these special trees. While clouds of fresh cherry blossoms tend to represent the ephemeral and the trees represent the eternal, it is important to realize that to the discerning and sensitive eye, the falling and fallen blossoms also have deep symbolic meaning. Ancient Japanese poets often lamented the fact that the fallen blossoms are seen as refuse to be cleaned up and disposed of. They point out that the fall and decay of the blossoms does not necessarily represent death. In fact, it can be seen as representing the journey of life. This reminds us that the experience of life is not shallow or one-noted. Instead, it is made up of a collection of fleeting moments of great joy, difficult periods of transition and enduring decisions and alliances. These symbols are all gloriously on display throughout the month of March in Middle Georgia.
Though these glorious trees have deep connections to Japan and Washington D.C. and are loved by many globally, they also have a rich history in Central Georgia. Macon’s Annual Cherry Blossom Festival transforms the town into a bustling hub for fun and entertainment every spring. These beautiful trees can trace their Macon roots all the way back to 1949 when William A. Fickling Sr. discovered a unique and unrecognized blossom, later to be discovered as a Yoshino cherry tree. After being recognized, the tree was freely distributed by the Fickling family throughout the city. Much later in 1982, Carolyn Crayton created the Cherry Blossom Festival that is so well known today as a way of celebrating the principles of "love, beauty and international friendship."
With roots dating all the way back to 1982, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a well-established and beloved tradition in Macon, Georgia. This year, the town will surely be painted pink with the 2016 festival hosting over thirty different events spanning a period of more than two weeks. From March 17 to April 3, Macon will be buzzing with activity in celebration of this lively tradition. Some of the events include pageants, lantern lighting ceremonies, road races, concert series, carnival rides, pink pancakes, hockey, military tributes, and food trucks. This massive array of options ensures that there is something for everyone. Many of these events are available at family-friendly prices, too. So whether you are rockin’ out to today’s latest band or strolling through history in a museum, this festival has something that will dazzle you as you unveil why the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World is so soulful.
Special Guest Blogger: Jonathan Leger is a member of the Garden Writer's Association and a gardening enthusiast. You can check out his website where he shares his passion for the unique plants of the world.
Interested in seeing these beautiful blooms in person? Sign-up for a Cherry Blossom Riding Trail Tour. View southern mansions, streets lined with cherry trees, and pink bows galore along this meandering route through the historic district of downtown, mid-town and north Macon residential areas - the highest concentration of trees will be seen in these areas! We will stop at the former home of “The Father of Cherry Blossom”, the late William Fickling. Continue your journey through the residential neighborhood of Wesleyan Woods, with final drive by the Fickling Farm where the trees were propagated and distributed to residents of Macon, annually.
Dates: March 24, 2017 – April 1, 2017
Tours run: 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and are approximately 2 hours long
To book your tour, contact Rhonda Okurowski, Director of Tourism, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-743-1074.
For additional information about the International Cherry Blossom Festival, visit cherryblossom.com.