Macon remembers one of its most famous sons, Otis Redding, this weekend with three days of respect, tenderness and remembered dreams.
Sept. 9 was the 75th anniversary of Redding's birth. The R&B legend died in 1969 at the age of 27.
The city's celebration got underway Friday morning with a parade and a proclamation at Macon's Cherry Street Plaza.
Also on Friday, an Otis Redding-themed photo exhibit is underway at Macon's Tubman Museum of African American History. The exhibit features photos from the Redding family's private collection. It's on display Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tubman, 310 Cherry St.
And the Douglass Theatre on Martin Luther King Boulevard presents free showings of "Unsung, the Story of Otis Redding," at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday. As a teenager, Redding frequently won WIBB radio's talent contests in the 1950s before hitting stardom.
The celebration continues Saturday with events in both Gray and Macon.
Jones County will celebrate Otis Redding Day with a celebration at the memorial at highways 129 and 11, at the railroad tracks in downtown Gray.
Then VIPs, family and friends will gather for a private barbecue at Redding's Big O ranch just outside Gray. That event is not open to the public.
Back in Macon, the public is invited to a free "Picnic Under the Stars with Otis Redding" at Coleman Hill. The event features screenings of three films: "Stax/Volt Revue Live In Norway," "Dreams To Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding" and "Live at Monterey Pop Festival."
On Sunday, the weekend wraps up with "An Evening of Respect," a musical tribute concert at the Macon City Auditorium.
The show features the reunion of The Reddings, Dexter Redding, Otis Redding, III, and Mark Lockett; and musical performances by St. Paul And The Broken Bones, Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper, Rolling Stones and Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell, Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie and "surprise musical guests."
The event begins at 7 p.m.
The celebration continues in October, when Lane Southern Orchards' annual maze will feature a 6-acre portrait of Otis Redding in corn.
The weekend is sponsored by the Otis Redding Foundation, which aims to empower and motivate young people through programs involving music, writing and instrumentation.