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Friday, Mar 31, 2023

Cherry Blossom appeals to a stranger side

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a time of year where Macon brings in the springtime and comes together. Locals of Macon mingle with tourists during the festival and embrace the “weird” spirit Macon can sometimes have.

Parts of the festival this year included camel rides, high heel races, semitruck-pulling contests and more.

The 7th Annual PULL for the House was a sponsored event where teams of sponsors would work together to pull a semitruck a certain distance. Their goal was to find out how fast their team could move the semitruck. The event benefitted the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia. Some of the sponsors who teamed up to pull the semitruck were Auto Air of Macon, Conditioned Air, Inc., and Central Georgia Technical College.

Another particularly strange event focused on running in high heels, a hard feat for anyone to accomplish.

On March 22, men, women and children ran down Cherry Street donning high heels of various shapes and colors. Individuals participated in the annual High Heels for the Cure Fun Run as part of Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival and in support of the Susan G. Komen foundation. Individuals made a donation of $10 to participate in the fun run.

“You don’t have to wear pink high heels, but you do have to wear two-inch heels. It’s just kind of really grown over the years, and we have lots of guys in pink tutus and pink high heels, and we have spray paint there if anyone wants to spray their shoes. The kids don’t have to wear high heels. They can wear tennis shoes and participate to win our kid prizes,” said the executive director of the Susan G. Komen Central Georgia Affiliate, Emily Bowden.

While the kids who participated were not required to wear heels, several opted to do so. The crowd was thrilled to see women race quickly down the street but laughed and cheered even more as they watched the men wearing dresses, skirts, tutus and stilettos wobble through the fun run.

“It was hilarious! It is my first time coming, and my favorite has to be the guy that was winning,” said Carrie Dowell who was a first time spectator of the race.

The man that was winning in the men’s race was a first time participant and wore some of the highest heels at the race.

“I thought it was great. It was hilarious. I love these Macon traditions. I don’t know if I would ever do anything crazy like that though,” said Joshua Roberts, a spectator.

Chuck Marks was a first-time participant who was laughing at the aftermath of the race. “My brother-in-law got me to do it! I’ve never done it before, but I would definitely do it again. As long as I don’t break a hip, I’m definitely good,” said Marks.

“We were at the mall, and there was a store that had these stilettos on sale for $4.99, and I said, ‘BJ, they’re running a high heel race downtown, and it’s for the Susan G. Komen.’ And he said, ‘Well, we’ll go do it’,” said spectator and friend of several participants, Sheila Mitchel.

The money raised from participant’s donations goes towards providing free mammograms for women without insurance.

“We keep our money locally, so we can provide the mammograms for women who don’t have insurance. So 75 cents of every dollar stays right here in our eight counties that we serve and 25 cents goes to national research to find a cure,” said Bowden.

According to the website for Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon is home to over 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees, and each March Macon hosts a 10-day festival to celebrate an overall theme of “Love, Beauty, and International Friendship.”

The festival originated when William A. Fickling Sr., a local Macon realtor, discovered the first Yoshino cherry tree in his backyard. The festival began in 1982 under the guidance of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission.

“[The Cherry Blossom Festival] asked us four years ago to participate because we are pink just like they are. We came up with the high heels event, so that it would be different from our race for the cure but would still be fun and pink,” said Bowden.



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