• Dozens of Yoshino cherry trees blossom in downtown Macon.  The city, referred to as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World by the Congressional Record, celebrates its many cherry trees for 10 days every March.  Daily schedules, information about souvenirs, prices for carnival rides and more are online at www.cherryblossom.com.

    Cherry1

    Dozens of Yoshino cherry trees blossom in downtown Macon. The city, referred to as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World by the Congressional Record, celebrates its many cherry trees for 10 days every March. Daily schedules, information about...

  • A beached sea lion, which cannot survive in the wild, scratches its head while "thinking" about the effects of pollution.  The animals are trained to retrieve plastic from their swim tanks.

    Cherry2

    A beached sea lion, which cannot survive in the wild, scratches its head while "thinking" about the effects of pollution. The animals are trained to retrieve plastic from their swim tanks.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - You are invited to "the Pinkest Party on Earth." It's going on this weekend in Macon, Ga., - the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World - where more than 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom every March.

The annual event includes music, tours, kids activities, cultural performances and more, all centered around the theme of love, beauty and international friendship. Begun in 1982, the festival celebrates the flowering cherry trees and all things related - from pink pancakes and cherry ice cream to Cherry Street, where many of the trees bloom.

Here are just a few of the items on the itinerary for the weekend.

Friday
Founders Day Celebration: Enjoy free Pet Dairy's cherries and cream ice cream, Coca-Cola, live music and carriage rides from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Third Street Park. Free cake is served at 11:30 a.m.

Cherry Blossom Organ Concert: Listen to the tunes of a pipe organ played by Jamie Shiell of Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Atlanta. The free concert is at noon at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.

Party with a Purpose: See contemporary Christian recording artist Big Daddy Weave in concert at 7 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga. Tickets are $10.

Nightly Concert at Central City Park: Tune in to Motown artists NSP and opening act Fluid from 6 to 11 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Entertainment Stage. Free.

Saturday
Pink Pancake Breakfast: Donate $5 to the American Cancer Society and enjoy a plate of pancakes. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the food tent in Central City Park. Parking is free.

Paws for a Cause: Enjoy agility and obedience demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Central City Park. FURever Friends will be on-site to provide pet adoption. The demonstrations are free.
14th Annual Mustang and Classic Ford Show: Show off your classic car from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Central City Park. Registration is $25, but the event is free for spectators.

Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival and International Food Fair: Experience cuisine from a variety of cultures and shop from more than 200 vendors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in Third Street Park.

Street Party: See Keith Anderson, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Edens Edge, Molly Stevens, Midnight Star, Cupid and Arthur "Bo" Ponder. The show is from 5 to 11 p.m. on Cherry Street. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the gate.

Nightly Concert at Central City Park: Listen to Bee Gees Tribute Band Stayin' Alive and opening act Echospeed from 6 to 11 p.m. Free.

Sunday
Mulberry Street Arts and Crafts Festival and International Food Fair: 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Third Street Park. *Bonus: Kids can draw with free sidewalk chalk at 1 p.m.

Blue Grass Day: Relax with bluegrass music at Central City Park from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free.

Grand Finale: Bring your picnic and celebrate the close of the festival with kids activities, live entertainment and fireworks. It starts at 5 p.m. at Wesleyan College. Free.

Every day
Sea Lion Splash: See three sea lions balance balls on their noses, catch rings with their necks and perform other acrobatic and comedic stunts. Shows are at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. with a playtime at 8 p.m. at Central City Park. Sunday, shows are at noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Free.

Hay House Tour: Reserve your spot at this in-depth look at all seven levels of the Hay House, an 18,000-square-foot historic home built in the 1850s. Tours begin at 4 p.m. today, 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $9-$12 for the Friday tour and $20 for the weekend hour and half tours.

Ocmulgee National Lantern Light Tours: Walk amid the 10,000-year-old Native American heritage of the Ocmulgee National Monument between 7:30 and 10 p.m. The milelong walks end at the Great Temple Mound. Ranger-led tours are at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Adults pay $5.

Most activities take place at Central City Park or in the downtown district. The locations are about 10 minutes from each other, and be prepared for blocked roads because of the festival. Parking at Central City Park costs $5 per vehicle but is free downtown.

For more information, visit www.cherryblossom.com.

Page last updated Thu March 25th, 2010 at 17:24