Sunday, March 26, 2006


It's the final day of the Cherry Blossom Festival but I have to admit I'm not terribly sad. Yes, I enjoy the festival and yes, I had lots of fun galavanting all over town visiting the different events this year, but I'm tired now and all blossomed out. I did head back out to the Mulberry Street Festival today with my dog Sophie (Woody Marshall snapped this photo of her at the food fair — she's so cute). She was a little afraid of all the people but still excited to be out, and I think she was probably grateful I didn't make her wear a little pink doggy hat or boots. I also tried to get another gyro from the Greek booth today but by 3 this afternoon they had already run out of lamb to make gyros with. My little greek salad was good, but not as tasty as the gyro would have been — especially since I'd been craving another since yesterday. That salad and this posting mark my final Cherry Blossom fun until next year's festival. Hopefully it will be as great as this year's festival, but maybe a little warmer. On that note, I leave you with this little ode to Cherry Blossom (and please remember I'm tired):

C is for the corndogs I could eat each day
H is hot-air balloons toppling over in the wind
E is even more to do this year
R is for the racing beds that fly through downtown
R is really, really good timing by most of the blossoms
Y is yummy granny's apple dumplings in my tummy

B is for Ben Jones doing the "rain, rain go away dance"
L is looking for $2 green beer
O is only 355 more days until next year
S is a special Southern tea and Fleur-de-lis
S is for the Spanish who couldn't find the Ocmulgee trading post (you had to be there)
O is outings to Third Street Park for cherry ice cream
M is me taking a really, really long nap now.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Balloon Glow mishap

I didn't get to attend the Balloon Glow tonight because I had to work, but I hear one of the balloons toppled over and then began dragging a van along behind it. Catch the full story and maybe a photo in tomorrow morning's Telegraph or at

Saturday at Central City Park

Here's a look at just two more of the events going on Saturday afternoon over at Central City Park. The first was the Flag City Mustang Club Classic Car Show. The other photo is of Candy Master Masaji Terasawa. He was very enthusiastic during his presentation and definitely having fun with the crowd!

The beds go zooming by

After being pushed into second place by the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department at last year's Cherry Blossom Bed Race, the Walthall Oil Co. came back with a vengeance Saturday with a time of 18.23 seconds. Walthall, the winner of 2004's race, had some pretty tight competition with the fire department, though, which came in at 19.11 seconds. Both were the only teams to complete the race in under 20 seconds, though the Robins Air Force Base C130 Paint Shop was close with a time of 20.41 seconds. There were also other winners at Saturday's race. The judges named the Georgia Children's Museum Bed No. 1 most orginal and MRS Home Care won for being the funniest bed. I definitely agree with the judges' decisions on those. The Children's Museum entered two different beds in the race (both with pirate themes) but Bed No. 1 was just a little more superior in design than its counterpart. The MRS Home Care was absolutely hands-down the funniest bed, which included a slew of "doctors" and "surgeons" rushing their patient in a hospital gurney down Cherry Street. The True Faith Youth Department suffered the only major malfunction in Saturday's race when their rear left wheel came apart from their bed. They were good sports though and still finished the race in 64.45 seconds. Had their wheel not come off, they might have been good competition for the fire department and Walthall though, because it seems like all the beds with the fastest times had males pushing. Hmmm, what does that say? All in all it was a great race and I can't wait until next year. I'm even thinking that maybe we should get a Telegraph team together to show those Walthall members a thing or two about speed. :)
Here's a look at some of the contestants:

Walthall Oil Co.

Georgia Children's Museum Bed No. 1

MRS Home Care

Macon-Bibb County Fire Department

Phi Mu Sorority's Sleeping Beauties

Middle Georgia Apartment Association

Food with flair

I was a little disappointed that there weren't more booths at the Piggly Wiggly Cherry Blossom International Food Fair. The booth that seemed to be the most "international" of all (particularly because I don't find things like ribeye steak sandwiches that exotic) was the Greek booth manned by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church. I had a yummy gyro there with the best sauce ever. I don't know what was in that sauce but it tasted like a mix of cucumber or dill. Whatever it was it was delicious. My mom, who came down for the festival, noted that there could have been a little more lamb meat on the gyro, but she loved the sauce too so she really had no complaints. And the two Korean exchange students my parents brought with them really enjoyed the gyros, too. There was also a stage set up next to all of the tables to provide entertainment while everybody ate, but I don't know if I would call some woman butchering "Stand By Your Man" entertainment. But that's just my opinion.

Sights from Mulberry Street Festival

I headed out to Mulberry Street a little bit before lunch time this morning. Booths were lined up along all of Mulberry from Second Street to about Broadway. Vendors were selling everything from wind chimes and jewelry to pork rinds and painted trash bins. The festival continues today until 6 and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here's a look at what you might find.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Following the Cherry Blossom Trail

My friend Karen and I went out in search of Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom this afternoon. We followed the map that has been seen in The Telegraph for guidance. Although cherry trees can be seen blooming all over town, the map's suggestions are places where the trees blooming are actually from cuttings taken from the original trees grown at the Rivoli Drive farm of the late William Fickling Sr. This fact alone makes these trees some of the town's oldest and largest trees. We figured the best places to start would be at the Fickling home on Ingleside Avenue and the Fickling farm. Both of these locations garnered a rating of "Full Bloom Beautiful" in our rating system. The trees are in full blossom at both of these locations and they completely cover the properties making it look almost as though the properties have been blanketed with a soft snow. While in front of the Ficlkling home on Ingleside, we came across an older gentleman from Florida. He told us this is his seventh year visiting Macon during the Cherry Blossom Festival. He and his wife travel here each spring and this year their party had grown to include five other couples. He was very excited about all of the blossoms this year, especially after last year's poor showing. He even noted that last year was the worst he'd ever seen blossom-wise. After visiting the two Fickling properties, we headed for Wesleyan Woods Drive, which is somewhat in the same neighborhood as the farm. The entire length of the street, from the moment you turn onto it to the moment you veer off in another direction, is in full bloom. The large white trees line the street, one after the other, as though they were chorus girls in a broadway show making their final curtsey; their graceful arms bedazzled with delicate gems. After riding down Wesleyan Woods, it was almost sad to head over to Coleman Hill and Third Street Park. We gave both areas a rating of "E for Effort: Better Luck Next Year," because while a few trees in each area are popping with blossoms, many have yet to emerge from their winter naps. This is sort of sad because many of these trees seem like they might not make their debut this year until after the festival is well over, but I'm not too down about it because it also means we'll get a second round of beauty to keep us excited until next year's festival.

On tap for Thursday

We've been running a map in The Telegraph this week of where you can go to see cherry blossoms around Macon. Thursday, I'm going to take this map and go on the hunt to see just where and how well the Yoshino cherry trees are blooming.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I can't believe I had never seen the Bengal tiger show before this year. They look like such soft and cuddly babies even though some of them may apparently get up to 600 pounds in weight, the show's announcer said. Another interesting tidbit he shared: The tigers have a 15-foot range when they take aim to go to the bathroom — but he may have been joking about that one. The trainer and the two other men working with the tigers seem to have absolutely no fear when playing with the giant animals inside the arena, which I just can't understand — they play with them as if they were little puppies almost. When the show starts, there are 9 tigers in the arena (3 cubs and 6 adults). The group is slowly whittled down as one by one each of the tigers performs the tricks they have learned over time, and then returns to its pens. The tricks range from sitting up on their hind legs to actually standing up on their hind legs and walking backward. And if you happen to forget to bring a camera to catch all of this excitement, the group sells disposable ones with an extra surprise — the first photo on each roll is one taken by the trainers featuring a photo of the tigers up close. I'd definitely say without a doubt that if you can only see one show during the Cherry Blossom Ferstival, the Tigers of India Bengal Tiger Family Show is what you should see. Shows are at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and feedings are at 8 p.m. each day throughout the festival. If you stop by, give them a "Raaargh" for me.

Yummy yummy in my tummy

I hit Central City Park this afternoon to enjoy some of the scrumptious fair foods. Choices include everything from corndogs and pizza to pork rinds and chinese food. While I personally believe no one should eat such things as Chinese food or seafood at the fair unless they're asking for a stomach ache later, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In honor of the food and this being Cherry Blosoom, my friends and I wrote just a few haikus:

Bland polish sausage
Covered with onions, peppers
Could have been better

Take a real big bite
Turkey meat rips from the bone
Lasts me all week long

Warm apple dumplings
Cold ice cream swimming on top
No calories, right? :)

Tea time

If I had to describe the Southern Tea and Fleur-de-lis exhibit going on at the Garden Club with one word, I think it would be "precious." Yes, I just said that. For those of you who have never seen the house, it is absolutely gorgeous inside and worth the walk-thru. It cost $5 to get in and tour the exhibit, which included tea or punch along with little cheeesy triangle sandwiches, nuts and candies that can be purchased in the group's gift shop. Upstairs, a photo exhibit features works by the Middle Georgia Camera Club. Most of the images were of nature scenes and my favorite was a really colorful piece titled "Stylized Orchid" by Alan Thiese. There are a few tea sets and linens set up upstairs, but the best tea exhibit is downstairs in one of the main rooms. Before entering the room, visitors are asked to read a wedding invitation, and then begin their tour of the room to the left. There were about 5 or 6 tables set up, each signifying a different part of the wedding weekend. One table, for example, represents the bridal shower tea, while another represents a sit-down after "the hunt." In my opinion, it's a very clever way to display everything. The final room is the tea room where guests can chose from either tea or punch and munch on sandwiches. The ladies hosting the exhibit (and a I saw one gentleman) were all very obviously excited about the event and full of energy. It was all quite "precious."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

$2 green beer update

One of my coworkers has informed me that there were some vendors selling beer for $3 last Friday night. That's closer to the $2 that they mentioned in the Official Schedule of Events instead of the $8 beer that we found at the Miller Lite tent, BUT IT'S STILL NOT $2 GREEN BEER!

A little rest

There's not much on the Cherry Blossom agenda today except for the usual daily fare at the park and several concerts, and since I'm just really not that into organ music and too busy working to attend Margaritaville tonight, I'm taking a break from Cherry Blossom today. I'll pink myself out tomorrow instead. Besides that, I'm not in the mood to spend $8 on a poorly made margarita again - even if it is pink.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to jump back into the fun by getting up and visiting the Southern Tea and Fleur-de-lis exhibit that opens at the Federated Garden Clubs. (I'm also hoping they actually might serve some tea, but I'm thinking I might be out of luck on that bet.) Then I plan to head to Central City Park to enjoy a smorgasbord of greasy and way too sugary foods for lunch (I really can't wait to try the apple dumplings), and then I'm going to catch an afternoon tiger show. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with my plans.

Shop ’til you pink yourself out

I visited the Cherry Blossom Festival Gift Shop over the weekend to buy my 2006 festival pin. The shop is nestled just between the SunTrust and a parking deck entrance at Mulberry Street's intersection with Second Street. I've been around for this festival for three years but in all that time I have never seen so much pink in one place. The shop has everything from the expected, like t-shirts (about $15) and ties (from about $15-$25), to the more outrageous, like pink suspenders and pink parasoles. If that's not enough, you can also find dog collars covered in pink jewels and earrings featuring cherry blossoms. They did also have a few items completely un-cherry related. For the Georgia fanatics out there, the shop offers quite a selection of UGA jewelry to chose from, and for those who could care less about the Bulldogs, the store also sells items representing a few of "those other schools."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cherries n' Cream

I think my illustration of Ben Jones doing the “rain, rain go away dance” partially worked — the sun has been poking out from behind the clouds off and on all afternoon. Way to go Ben! While the weather was still a little dismal at lunchtime, the atmosphere over in Third Street Park was anything but. True, the crowd was kind of thin and the lines weren’t that long for the first day of free Cherries n’ Cream ice cream. But with all of the chatter and children’s voices, the “royalty,” the horse and buggy riding in constant circles, a pink cow, and the sound of girls from Mount de Sales’ choir singing “There’s a somebody I’m longing to see,” it almost felt a little like a scene out of a movie. All that was missing was a little sunshine, a lot more blooms, and a little charismatic C. Jack working his way through the crowd. I can almost hear the scene’s director, Chip Cherry, yelling “Cut! That’s a wrap!”
I really enjoyed everything, but I do have a couple of recommendations for next year’s Third Street Park festivities. Instead of just Cherries n’ Cream, next year let’s have Chocolate n’ Cherries ice cream — now that’s yummy. Also, we need some actual food vendors out there in the park. We don’t need a lot, just a few will do. Since I don’t go to work until late afternoon, I had time to stay and eat lunch at one of the downtown restaurants if I wanted, but many people might be coming for about 30 minutes on their lunch break and not have time to grab food and ice cream quite as easily. Having vendors in the park would put everything together in one central location. Even a little Adrianna’s stand selling sandwiches just outside the restaurant would have been perfect. Mmmm … Adrianna’s and ice cream … .

No time for it to rain

This nasty weather has got to go. I've conjured up an image of WMAZ's chief meteorologist doing the "rain, rain go away" dance to see if it does us any good. Shake your groove thing Ben and work your magic!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The never-ending parade

I checked out the Cherry Blossom parade for the first time this year. Even with a steady drizzle coming down, there was a pretty good-sized crowd gathered on Cherry Street for the start of the parade. The crowd on Mulberry Street was pretty thin, so if you're looking for a real parade ambiance, Cherry Street would be your best viewing location, but if you want to be able to see all of the floats, you should definitely head to Mulberry Street. You could even head out late to the parade and still get a prime viewing spot on Mulberry to watch everything go by. The only downfall with Mulberry is that everyone's run out of candy to toss by the time they get to you! I wandered over to Cherry Street and caught the national anthem being sung before the start - I didn't know parades kicked off with the anthem so that was an interesting surprise. Then I headed back to Mulberry with my umbrella and stood on one of the sidewalks to wait for the parade to make it's way around the corner.
C. Jack was in the first vehicle to come by, and then Charlie Bishop - wearing all pink (thank you Charlie) - was close behind.

The parade was a lot longer and bigger than I expected it to be, and I was most entertained by the little things, such as floats and cars getting stalled because of the dancing bands ahead of them, which gave people in the parade like Nancy Grace a chance to chat it up and have a good time with the crowd.

I really enjoyed the bands and the dancers, though some looked a little confused at times, but I'll ignore that since they have way more guts than I do to get out in public and dance in costume.

But I think my favorites of all were the API float with hairdressers and wigs, and the Chick-fil-A float featuring a pink cow.

Here's a look at the rest of the parade:

A moment of silence

I'm about to head out to my first ever Cherry Blossom Parade, but first I'd like to ask for a moment of silence. I realized this afternoon that I will NOT get to see any cows. I mistakenly thought the Mobile Dairy Classroom was scheduled to be at Central City Park today and when I looked back at the schedule of events last night I realized the cows were only visiting the park on Friday and Saturday of this weekend and they're not scheduled to return next weekend. :(

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Macon Thunder

Even though the sun kept trying to poke out every so often, it was a fairly dreary day weather-wise, but still warm and dry enough to do plenty of Cherry Blossom activities. I spent the afternoon checking out the Dixie Disc Dog Championships and Macon Thunder before heading into work for the evening. I had not been to Macon Thunder last year during its first year, so I didn’t know what to expect besides what I had seen in the paper. There were plenty of families crowded around the make-shift catfish pond, and the little kids weren’t the only ones dangling slimy things off the end of their fishing poles — there were plenty of moms and dads enjoying themselves as well. With some families, it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the kids or the parents. There weren’t many booths set up when I visited the trail in the early afternoon, and the music stage was in the process of being set up, but there were plenty of those inflatable type rides for the kids to enjoy. Those really weren’t that popular where I grew up when I was a kid, so I’m always kind of envious of the kids jumping around inside those big inflatable trampoline contraptions. I even saw the little teeny Cherry Prince and Princess running off to the inflatable slide and waving a bunch of money in the air.
I also grabbed some Fincher’s BBQ while I was at the trail and I finally saw a cow, though it was only a Chick-fil-A cow. I didn’t have time to go in search of the real thing today, but maybe tomorrow or later this week. It really was a great family atmosphere in the afternoon with plenty for the family to do, but if you’re in your twenties with no family like me, it might not be the most interesting activity for you during the Cherry Blossom Festival. And as a little side note, I do think the kids’ chalk contest is a better match with Macon Thunder, but I’m going to miss seeing all the chalk-drawings on Third Street throughout the week — that’s just one of the little things that made it Cherry Blossom to me.
I didn’t get a chance to go back out to the trail for the fireworks because of work, but I did catch them from The Telegraph building this evening. I also wish I’d been able to check out the evening portion of Macon Thunder to catch some of the music acts and find out if the atmosphere was any different at night than during the day. Maybe others who got to go to will share their comments with me and fill me in.

Dixie Disc Dog Championships

Mmmm ... pink pancakes

The alarm went off at 8:30 this morning and I was ready to die. I don’t usually get up before 10:30, and most days, it’s closer to 11:30, but that’s because I work from about 4 p.m. to midnight and generally don’t go to bed until about 3 a.m. One of the things I’ve always had the intention of doing during the Cherry Blossom Festival is attending the Pink Pancake Breakfast by the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, but I never could muster the urge to get up within the 7:30-10:30 a.m. timeframe to try those pancakes. I would go to bed on Friday nights with the intention of getting up bright and early the next morning, but then morning would come and I would roll back over. The festival would end and I would regret that I had missed out on the pink pancakes once again. This year, though, I was absolutely determined to get up and eat pancakes. And, now that I’ve finally beaten my inner clock and tried the pancakes, I can say they were most definitely worth it. When we go to the park at 9, there was quite a crowd gathered for pancakes and the line moved really quickly. The food was good and a lot more pink than I thought it would it be. Telegraph food critic extraordinaire Travis Fain, known for upsetting the mothers of restaurant owners throughout Middle Georgia, had this to share about the breakfast: One of society’s truisms is that firefighters know how to cook in mass, but apparently they can’t make coffee. We were all pretty pleased with what we ate, but the thing that clinched it for me was that they served chocolate milk with the pancakes. Those firemen, they’re men after my own heart.