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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024
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Despite a ticket snafu, Cherry Blossom satisfies students

Local guests and vendors reflect on what Cherry Blossom means to them

An acrobat balances on top of his spinning hoop act at the Cherry Blossom Fair in Macon.
An acrobat balances on top of his spinning hoop act at the Cherry Blossom Fair in Macon.

Mercer students enjoyed free entry to the Cherry Blossom Fair on Thursday at Carolyn Crayton Park. There was a miscommunication with some ticket vendors charging for entry, but wrongly charged students were able to a refund from Mercer’s Campus Life office.

“Basically when my roommate and I came to get our ticket, expecting it to be free, [the ticket booth] kind of gaslit us and told us they only would give us a half discount which was really confusing because we expected to be free," said Sai Mediboyina ‘26. “I’m grateful to the Campus Life Office for being so prompt giving me my refund."

Macon’s famous Cherry Blossom Festival was in full swing last week, featuring cherry blossom-themed food, lively music and engaging activities. 

Everyone has a different reason for going to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Some saw a poster or a flier in a group chat, while others have a much more nostalgic view of the fair. 

Jennifer Willis, a Macon resident, said she attended the festival because, “Cherry blossom is home.” 

Misty and Carl Murray, from Athens, said they, “Just wanted to see the Cherry Blossoms,” and “Didn’t know there would be fair food and other stuff.” 

The event at Carolyn Crayton Park was reminiscent of a country fair, featuring sea lion and dog shows, hot air balloon rides, classic “fair food” like funnel cake and pickle pizza, and engaging rides ranging from a calm ferris wheel to a thrilling loop-de-loop.

Shivali Patwary 26’ said “I couldn't go because I had lab, but my roommate got me these earrings that lowkey kind of slapped.”

Other events included a Food Truck Frenzy featuring Macon's diverse culinary range, a stained glass church tour showing off Macon Architecture, and various musical ensembles, one including Mercer's own Concert Band in collaboration with the Middle Georgia Concert Band!

The Cherry Blossom Festival has roots in the state fairs that used to be prevalent in Macon around forty years ago. As the popularity of state fairs in Macon went down, the Cherry Blossom Festival exploded in popularity. 

The cherry blossom festival is hugely impactful for Macon’s economy, helping fuel the service industry and offering an avenue for temporary employment for struggling Maconites.

Valerie, a Macon resident, said she has worked at the fair for three consecutive years said the extra money really helps. She added that the Cherry Blossom festival brought “extra funds for everybody” through the taxes tourists pay, to local vendors like the food trucks that line the blocks of Third and Cherry Street. 

The Cherry Blossom Festival also offers individual Maconites a chance for temporary, high-paying, employment. 

Adam Cornillusen, one of the vendors at the fair, said his job working the festival would help him until “I get more stable." He also noted his appreciation for the temporary financial flexibility working the fair granted him.

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