International Cherry Blossom Festival

International Cherry Blossom Festival
The International Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual ten-day festival held every March in Macon, Georgia. With its 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees, Macon is often referred to as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World”. No wonder that the city hosts one of the most famous cherry blossom festivals.

The history of Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival dates back to 1949. That year local realtor William A. Fickling Sr. discovered a beautiful Yoshino cherry tree while strolling about in his own backyard. At the time of his discovery he didn’t know the exact species of the tree and was unaware that these cherry hybrids were rare to the Southern United States.

During a business trip in Washington, D.C. three years later, Mr. Fickling saw a tree that looked identical to the one he had discovered in his yard. After comparing cuttings from each tree, he discovered that they were a perfect match. Upon returning home, he began to promote the Yoshino cherries among the local community.

In the 1970s Carolyn Craton, a new resident to Macon who had relocated from North Carolina, was awed by the unique beauty of the Yoshino cherry trees. She talked to Fickling at a company picnic and asked if he would donate trees to plant in her neighborhood. He agreed to donate the trees if Craton would organize the planting.

In November 1973, about 500 Yoshino cherry trees were planted in the neighborhood of Wesleyan Woods. Over the years, the trees became a common sight around downtown, college campuses and the neighborhoods of the city. In 1982, Craton launched the Cherry Blossom Festival to honor Fickling for his generous contribution and to celebrate the beauty of the blossoming cherry trees.

Over the years, the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon has become one of the most spectacular festivals in the United States. The festival lasts for ten days and features a variety of events and activities for people of all ages held at Central City Park. Its program includes pageants, live performances, amusement rides, picnics, art shows, food fairs, street parties, fashion shows, galas, dances, bas tours, and more. The festivities are presided over by the festival’s royalty – Little Mr. & Miss, Queen and Princesses, and Senior Queen and Princesses.

In 2020, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

International Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo: keith loyd




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