Cherry Blossom Festival Canceled

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Cherry Blossom Festival has been around for 39 years. For the first time in history, it has been canceled.

As COVID-19 cases grow, organizers say the call had to be made. “I’m sad,” Cherry Blossom Founder Carolyn Crayton said. “We will all miss the festival. It is such a joyous time of the year that brings us all together.”

As mass cancellations happen around the country, here in Macon, Cherry Blossom Festival organizers and health experts voted unanimously to cancel this year’s festival. “It was an extremely difficult decision to make, but one that we understood was necessary for our organization and for our community,” Cherry Blossom Board Chair Alex Habersham said.

The Center of Disease Control recommends organizers cancel events that attract 500 people or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “500 is a very small event for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Almost all of our events will be well over 500 people,” Bill Fickling III with the festival said.

Mayor Robert Reichert says canceling Cherry Blossom Festival is the right call for everyone’s safety. “It’s one of the biggest events of the year, with a number of people coming here from all around the country and your decision will go a long way. I’m confident in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Middle Georgia area,” Mayor Reichert said.

Earlier this month, Cherry Blossom organizers added preventative measures like more hand washing stations, signage and extra ride cleanings. “It would still be a risk by having a large number of people in close proximity of each other,” Habersham said.

Festival founder Carolyn Crayton says they’re trying to do the right thing. “This is just one of those things nobody expected and nobody wanted,” Crayton said.

Habersham says the festival will be back next year.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.