• Shona McCarthy

The Biggest Cherry Blossom Festival In The World: Macon Georgia

In curiosity I decided to look into where in the world I would go if I wanted to see the biggest cherry blossom festival. I had expect to be directed to a remote town in Japan. But to my amazement, Macon, Georgia, USA got was the most highly recommended.

With that in mind, I decided to investigate.

The event has its own nicely produced website, which reveals that the festival, this year, will last from the 19th of March to the 28th. Many events are planned throughout these days. I had expected there to be some Japanese element to it all. Particularly since the species of cherry tree growing in Macon, Yoshino, appears to be Japanese. In fact, the same species lines the garden of a castle in Aichi, Japan. The Yoshino cherry tree seems to be of a the kind one is used to seeing in photos of Japanese Cherry Blossom viewing festivals. The slowly falling petals. The faintly pink colour. The light almond scent. So I decided to investigate a little more to see why this might be the case.

There is a beauty pageant, but no kimono or yukata contest. There are live performers. But they are not taiko drummers or shamisen players. There is, however, a high quality Michael Jackson impersonator, a tribute to Prince, and a parade complete with a marching band. In some ways I think their festival might be more fun and interesting for the fact that they didn't limit themselves to exclusively Japanese activities. One event involves interacting with live, life-like replicas of dinosaurs! And mermaids!

(I don't know what live replicas of Dinosaurs have to do with Cherry blossoms in Macon, Georgia, and I love it. Borrowed from, 2021.)

I do remember seeing some Japanese asked about what people do at a cherry blossom festival, and I remember them sort of listlessly answering that they would mostly sit on a picnic blanket drinking beer, and they might look up at the cherry blossoms a little bit. Perhaps that is why Macon, Georgia decided to liven up the occasion? Though the Macon iteration does contain the same ritual to some extent.

The base or centre for the festival is 787 Cherry Street. The town takes cherry blossoms seriously enough that the whole of Cherry Street has a pink line running down the middle, a pink baroque (or is it roccoco?) style florist, and parking spots painted with pink borders and flowers. The building itself looks like an old colonial style mansion almost, with a wonderfully manicured hedge garden and fountain. Is it just my eyes, or is the building slightly pink too? I don't know about you, but I'm definitely much more interested in visiting Macon, Georgia than I used to be.

However, you might want to add some Japanese flare to your visit. In which case you could take a look at my online store:

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