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The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Downtown Macon activities heat up this month

Businesses partner with NewTown, Visit Macon, Bragg Jam to maximize tourism, draw visitors
LIz Fabian
Bragg Jam marks its 25th anniversary this year, but the July 27 concert crawl is not the only lure to downtown this month.

Summer temperatures are not the only factor in guaranteeing a hot time in downtown Macon this season. Merchants, business owners and the hospitality industry are cooking up special events and activities during prime vacation time. 

Bragg Jam, the concert crawl that traditionally falls on the last Saturday in July, marks its 25th anniversary on July 27. The festival began as an impromptu musical memorial to local musicians Brax and Tate Bragg who were killed in a car crash in Texas while coming back from a cross-country trip in 1999.

“Bragg Jam’s mission is to support local musicians,” said Kaitlynn Kressin, vice president of the Bragg Jam board. “It’s to support music and arts in the Macon community. It is to give kids access to instruments and learning about what type of music they might be interested in. And it’s to provide music to the community. So, we like to say, ‘keep the music flowing.’”

This year’s festival features at least a half-dozen music venues and 40 acts plus new sanctioned event partnerships before and after the crawl.

Just Tap’d hosts a Bragg Jam Summer Concert Series that began in June and wraps up July 5 and July 19 with performances beginning at 6 p.m. those Friday evenings. 

Grant’s Lounge hosts “The Night Before the Thing” on Bragg Jam eve, July 26, with musicians Joelton Mayfield, 100 Watt Hours and Michael Suhr. (Liz Fabian)

July 26 features “The Night Before the Thing,” a free night of music and food specials at Grant’s Lounge, but ticket reservations are required. 

On the day of the famed concert crawl, The Society Garden kicks off the fun with the Bragg Fam event featuring family activities, music and crafts from noon until 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults who can bring up to four kids. 

July 28, the morning after the big concert crawl, Visit Macon will host the inaugural Bragg Brunch at Fall Line Brewing Co. The event is billed as “no better way to recoup from an unforgettable Bragg Jam.”

The $20 ticket gets you live music and brunch catered by Fountain of Juice. For $40, the food comes with bottomless mimosas and bloody marys. Fall Line beverages also will be available for purchase. 

French Fry Fight and the best baked goods

Macon restaurants are gearing up for the big French Fry Fight on Wednesday, July 10, where 20 eateries will be putting their best fry forward in appetizer or entree sizes. 

“They should be shareable if people want to try a bunch, get friends together and try a bunch,” said Emily Hopkins, Main Street Macon Manager for NewTown Macon.  

All entries this year will be priced between $10 and $20 after feedback from some of the 20,000 people who enjoyed last year’s fight which had a wide range of costs.

Patrons are encouraged to grab fries to go, so they’re not taking up table space to try one special item. 

The restaurant with the most votes gets the Super Spud Trophy and is crowned the city’s fry champ until next year’s competition. 

Although the event officially runs from 11 a.m until 11:45 p.m., participating restaurants likely will operate on normal schedules, so don’t expect to find your favorite lunch spot open until midnight. Check hours of operation when plotting when to visit, to be sure.

A Macon Baking Week flyer hanging in the Visit Macon window urges folks to “indulge to win” as local restaurants and bakers serve up their best goodies from July 12-28. (Liz Fabian)

The quest broadens from downtown to find the county’s best bakers July 21-28 for the Great Macon Baking Week when 16 bakeries and restaurants compete for the title of “Macon’s Star Baker.”

From Bearfoot Tavern’s “Spiced Cinnamon Apple and Cranberry Calzones” to Natalia’s “Carolyn’s Chocolate Mousse in a Pecan Lace Basket,” to Dawson’s Kitchen’s “Strawberry Lemonade Ooey Gooey Bars,” look for a variety of baked goods to make your mouth water. 

Those who sample at least five of the goodies will receive a Macon cooking set with a whisk, spatula, potholder and chip clip. With 10 stamps on your Macon Baking Week passport comes a free T-shirt, and those who try all 16 entries can enter to win a KitchenAid stand mixer in the color of their choice. Passports are available at Visit Macon at 450 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and at participating locations. 

Macon’s Star Baker will be announced during the Macon Arts Alliance’s Central City Bake-Off from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at the Mill Hill Community Arts Center. 

Up to 20 amateur and professional bakers will compete for the title of Central City Baking Champion by creating a “show-stopper.” Tickets are $10 to attend and sample competition entries in the grand finale of Macon Baking Week.

The last day of the month features a Harry Potter Bar Crawl on July 31 beginning at 6 p.m. Embarking from Fall Line Brewing Co., participants will receive their Hogwarts letter, select their house loyalty and visit 10 “bewitching stops” around town. 

Each venue promises “fantastical creatures, spellbinding decorations and entertainment, and magical alcoholic concoctions.” Those visiting all locations will be awarded a Harry Potter-themed koozie.  

Other calendar events

  • July 5 — First Friday and JBA’s 5th anniversary
  • July 6 — Uncle Dave’s Waycross Stagecoach at Grant’s Lounge
  • July 11 — Macon Pops’ Christmas in July at Fall Line Brewing Co.
  • July 12 — 90s Murder Mystery Dinner at Fall Line Brewing Co. and Bonnie Blue at Grant’s Lounge
  • July 13 — 70s Player Ball at Serenity Entertainment Complex and Macon on My Mind Day at Carolyn Crayton Park with food trucks and live music from 3-6 p.m.
  • July 14 — Doggy Day at Fall Line Brewing Co.
  • July 19-21 — Jehovah’s Witness Convention (English)
  • July 20 — Space Armadillo at Grant’s Lounge
  • July 26-28 — Jehovah’s Witness Convention (Spanish)                                                                                                                                              

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities for The Macon Newsroom and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.

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