MACON, Ga. — 200 years ago many indigenous people were forced out of their homes in Central Georgia. This weekend they will have their annual homecoming festival here at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Park.
The two-day celebration will include plenty of history, but Superintendent of the Ocmulgee Mounds Carla Beasley expressed that this year it will be different.
"It is a free event this year. We are not charging an admission fee this year. Parking will be off site though so please please please look at our website to get that address. It will be down at the Macon health plaza and we’ll have a free shuttle that will be running continuously to bring visitors up here,” Beasley said.
The park has been trying to become Georgia's first national park for years.
Tracie Revis, director of advocacy of the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative, emphasized that they’ve received plenty of support from Middle Georgia, including a $1 million grant from The Knight Foundation.
“So the funding is a three-year grant. It’s not a million all at once it’s a three-year grant that we are going to then identify the national partners that will help us lay out the plan and then there will be a strategic plan for implementation,” Revis said.
It takes years to turn a national monument into a national park, but Revis says that the region's congressional delegation supports the plan.
"Senator Ossoff and Senator Warnock huge supporters on the senate side and on the house side we have Congressman Scott and Congressman Bishop huge advocates in making sure this moves forward,” Revis said.
Revis is hoping that a hearing and vote to make the mounds the 64th National Park will happen later this year in Washington.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Revis wants people to come to the celebration to enjoy themselves, the performances, and more.
"Learn from us and continue to support this area," Revis emphasized.