The 2022 Cherry Blossom Pageant noticed 3.5 million guests.
MACON, Ga. — Downtown Macon is not decked out in pink, however the 2022 Cherry Blossom Festival brought in lots of green for the Macon-Bibb County economy.
For 4 years, William ‘Mike’ Seekins has run Well-known Mike’s in downtown Macon. He is a Macon lifer.
“Folks say Macon’s making a comeback. I say, ‘From what?’ I believe we’re lastly turning into one thing very particular,” Seekins mentioned.
Seekins has seen rather a lot over time, together with a number of Cherry Blossom Festivals.
“For the primary time, that we had a optimistic impact as a consequence of Cherry Blossom,” Seekins mentioned.
He says in previous years, the competition’s stored regulars from coming by means of the door. Not this yr.
“Folks have this notion that downtown Macon’s overrun with individuals, in order that they got here down. This yr, I believe individuals have been simply able to get out,” Seekins mentioned.
Gary Wheat with Go to Macon says he noticed the identical factor.
“We noticed 29,000 distinctive guests that got here from over 50 miles to Macon,” Wheat mentioned.
He says Macon motels noticed 80% occupancy. The competition noticed 3.5 million individuals over 9 days, together with people who visited greater than as soon as.
Seekins says a few of them discovered their option to his restaurant. He thinks the competition’s occasion scheduling helped.
“They’d extra occasions downtown this yr than that they had the previous a number of years. Prior to now, the one factor that they had downtown was the Mulberry Arts and Crafts Pageant,” he mentioned.
Seekins additionally made certain to speak together with his regulars to verify they knew Well-known Mike’s was open for them. That is one thing he says he’ll proceed for subsequent yr.
The 2022 competition additionally noticed the return of tour bus teams for the primary time in three years. Wheat says the weekends have been the busiest he is ever seen throughout Cherry Blossom.