Good Golly, Miss Molly! Macon hosts Little Richard Memorial Celebration


Liz Fabian

The first Little Richard Memorial Celebration will be held in Macon May 7-9 and culminating on the first anniversary of his death at age 87.

On the first anniversary of the death of Little Richard Penniman, Macon will be celebrating his colorful life which began in the city’s Pleasant Hill neighborhood.

Beginning Friday, select downtown businesses will offer Little Richard-themed cocktails, beverages and food to honor the self-described Architect of Rock & Roll who died May 9, 2020, at age 87 in Nashville.

The Little Richard House Community Resource Center is working with the Macon-Bibb County Community Enhancement Authority, NewTown Macon, Visit Macon and eight downtown establishments on the inaugural event.

“We will be trying to encourage people to patronize the local businesses downtown for food and drinks and we’re going to do that by having a Little Richard Memorial Weekend passport,” said Nancy Cleveland, who is helping organize the event.

“We’re hoping that this not only connects the history of Little Richard and the Pleasant Hill Community to what is happening downtown, but also helps us to support our local businesses,” Cleveland told the Downtown Macon Community Association meeting Tuesday.

Felicia Howard, who grew up listening to Little Richard’s music along with her parents and grandparents, will be offering up Tutti Frutti fruit-flavored cakes at Felicia’s Cake Factory at 365 Third St., which is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Not like the holiday fruitcake,” Howard said with a laugh. “I probably need to clarify that.”

Her Red Velvet Strawberry cake, Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry Shortcake and Mixed Berry cake of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries will all qualify for a passport stamp.

Patrons may also order online at her website:

On Cherry Street, The Rookery will serve up its signature “Little Richard Pennimelt” sandwich and A Brooke Haven Lounge will pour the “Wop Bop A Loo Bop A Lop Bom Bom” mixed drink.

On Second Street, Niche 385 created a “Long Tall Sally” cocktail and Lazy Susan Tapas Bar will mix a “Tutti Frutti Punch.” At Just Tap’d on First Street you can order the “Miss Molly Mule” and the Recess Bar & Lounge at 469 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will fix you a “Heeby Jeebies.”

Z Beans Coffee also is getting in on the fun with a “Tutti Frutti Frizado.”

The coffee shop’s director of public relations, Mary Kathryn Stewart,  said it will be a concoction of ice cream and iced espresso, flavored with cherry and raspberry and topped with whipped cream.

“I’m a big fan of those,” Stewart said.

The drinks will be 20 percent off during the celebration at both locations on Cotton Avenue and Mercer Village, she said.

Stewart jumped at NewTown’s invitation to join in the tribute.

“We love working with them. It’s always great for small businesses to work together within the community,” Stewart said.

While the majority of the participants are offering adult beverages, there will be family-friendly activities Sunday in Rosa Parks Square.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the Little Richard Memorial Weekend Celebration culminates with music and bounce houses.

The Little Richard House raising funds

Cleveland said they hope to make it an annual event and fund raiser in the future.

Images of Macon’s famed showman line the hall of the Little Richard House in Pleasant Hill. (Liz Fabian)

Robert Banks, administrator of the Little Richard House, said the Friends of Little Richard Fund is raising money to commission a statue and purchase a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his homeplace in Pleasant Hill.

Banks said they are also working with Richard’s family in hopes of securing some of his memorabilia for the mini-museum in the house he shared with his 11 siblings.

During the construction of the new Interstate 75 interchange, the little yellow house was moved to 416 Craft Street, on the other side of the busy highway that ferries fans from all over the world.

“We have people that come from all over – Sweden, New Jersey. Some people come when they’re on vacation and some people are coming because they searched Little Richard,” Banks said.

Banks will be at Rosa Parks Sunday evening to award prizes for those who complete their passports, which can be picked up at the participating businesses or Visit Macon at 450 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Contact Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian at 478-301-2976 or [email protected].