What events to look forward to in 2023


Nicole Bailey-Covin

The rich history of the blooming Cherry Blossom Trees are a big part of the annual International Cherry Blossom Festival.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get out more, we have you covered. Below is a list of eleven events to look forward to in 2023. We have everything from monthly events to something that happens only every 200 years. 

Macon Bicentennial – All of 2023

Macon is celebrating its 200th birthday in 2023 and the city is ready to show off. Throughout the year there will be events including a bicentennial art show will be held at the Macon Mall with work from Macon textile artist Wini McQueen, Jessica Walden is expected to revive her one-woman Macon music-themed play and world-famous violinist Robert McDuffie will perform a special Bicentennial piece in the fall at the Grand Opera House. 

First Friday – First Friday of every month of 2023

Downtown is the place to be on each first Friday of the month. There are family-friendly activities in the parks, arts and culture offerings, dining specials and extended retail hours for downtown shops. Make sure to check out the First Friday Facebook page or the NewtownMacon website for complete details for each First Friday.

5:30 p.m.-midnight; First Fridays of each month, downtown Macon; (478) 722-9909; newtownmacon.com

Tubman Museum’s “All That Jazz” Gala and Fundraiser – Jan. 28

This yearly fundraiser for Macon’s Tubman Museum is a seriously glamorous night with dinner, dancing and a performance from world-famous percussionist Sheila E. The funds raised will go to educational programs and community outreach. 

Jan. 28, 2023; Macon City Auditorium 415 First St., 31201; (478) 743-8544; tubmanmuseum.com

Cherry Blossom Festival- March 17-26

Macon’s best-known event is probably the Cherry Blossom Festival, an event that celebrates the blooming of over 350,000 Yoshinko cherry trees in Macon. The city celebrates with 10 days of events, from parades to concerts to wiener dog races and pink pancakes. 

March 17-26; Carolyn Crayton Park, 115 Willie Smokie Glover Drive, 31201; cherryblossom.com 

Fired Works-April 14-22

The April show will mark the 18th year the Macon Arts Alliance has put on its “Fired Works” exhibition. Along with their “Fire and Ice” show (usually put on in November), “Fired Works” is the Art Alliance’s signature exhibit with both sculptural and practical ceramic items for sale. Alicia Bailey David will be the 2023 featured artist. 

April 14-22, 2023; Round Building, Carolyn Crayton Park, 115 Willie Smokie Glover Drive, 31201; (478) 743-6940; maconartsalliance.org

Tubman Pan African Festival- April 22-23

The Pan African Festival is a celebration of the diverse cultures created by the African diaspora. There are dance performances, storytelling events, art exhibits, poetry readings and film screenings. 

April 22-23, 2023; Macon Centerplex 200 Coliseum Drive, 31217; (478) 743-8544; tubmanmuseum.com;  

Bragg Jam Concert Crawl-July 29

The Bragg Jam Concert Crawl is the event of the summer. Over two dozen bands play various downtown venues starting from late afternoon to the early hours of the next day. The recent addition of a Hip Hop Showcase broadens Bragg Jam’s lineup of artists. Bragg Jam also has its BraggFam event, a free children’s arts and entertainment event held the morning of Bragg Jam.  

July 29, 2023; Concert crawl will be held at various downtown venues; braggjam.org

Macon Film Festival – August 17-20

The Macon Film Festival will celebrate its 18th anniversary in August. This four-day film event hosts independent film screenings across town. In addition to the screenings, there are film workshops, celebrity guests (past guests include Burt Renyolds and Andrew McCarthy) Q&As with filmmakers and panel discussions. It’s worth it to splurge on the All-Access Pass since the festival holds some of the best parties in town with their pre-parties and after-parties. 

Aug. 17-20, 2023; maconfilmfestival.com 

Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration – Sept. 16-17

This free annual event at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park celebrates Southeastern Native American cultures and heritage. There will be native dance performances, storytelling and educational events. There will also be craft and food vendors (don’t miss the fry bread). 

Sept. 16-17, 2023; 1207 Emery Highway, 31217; (478) 752-8257; ocmulgeemounds.org

Central Georgia Greek Festival – Oct. 21-23

Somehow, gyros taste better under the Central Georgia Greek Festival tent. It could be because of the atmosphere supplied by the greek dancers and musicians that come to Macon every year for the event. Maybe, it’s knowing that your tzatziki sauce was handmade by someone’s ya-ya. It might be because the parishioners of  Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church (which has been putting on this festival for the past 16 years) are such welcoming hosts. It really just comes down to the fact that if you have one gyro this year, make sure it’s at this festival.

Oct. 21-23, 2023; 859 First St, 31201; (478) 621-0744; holycrossga.org

Downtown Christmas Lights Extravaganza

Historically held from the end of November until the beginning of January, the Downtown Christmas Lights Extravaganza is a favorite city event. There are over 500,000 colored lights on Poplar Street set in time to holiday music arranged and performed by the Macon Pops with a light show every 45 minutes starting at 6 p.m. with the last performance at 9 p.m. The Macon Pops plays a live, free show on opening night as well.