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'A really good idea': Cherry Blossom festivalgoers respond to new clear bag policy

The Cherry Blossom Festival is up and running, and with it are some new security policies.

MACON, Ga. — The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is back in downtown Macon and organizers say it's at full capacity.

With this year's festival are some new security procedures. The big one is the clear bag policy.

"I think it's pretty smart, actually, so you can prevent guns and weapons from being brought in," said Joshua Miller.

If you talk to most people at this year's Cherry Blossom Festival, they'll probably tell you something similar. 

"It keeps it safe for everyone," said Christina Faulk.

Seventh grader, Nyla Green, had to go back to her car since her bag wasn't clear, but it didn't bother her.

"It's a really good idea because of how society is today. It's like, people can carry weapons with them," said Green.

She said it was worth the walk in order to stay safe. As is the case with any policy change, there are growing pains.

"I just didn't know about it and I had to take my purse back to my car," said Cassandra Marshall.

After she got back in line, Marshall said she was all for the policy. She's not the only one who didn't know, according to the festival security company's owner, Andre Pope. 

Pope says they've had to turn people away. He clarified the policy.

"Baby bags, those don't have to be clear," he said. "Pocketbooks, purses, anything of that nature has to be clear."

Medical bags with inhalers or other medications are also fair game, and they don't have to be clear. It all comes back to one thing: safety.

"The more security measures everyone sees, the more safer everyone feels. That's the main thing," Pope said.

Not everyone is thrilled about the policies.

"Now we lost our place in line and the line got longer," said Green's friend, Camarri Stockner. She's worried about losing money on a ride if she doesn't have a bag.

"If you want to pay for something, you don't have a wallet. You just stuff it into your pocket. What if you get on a ride and it just falls right out?" she asked.

Pope wants to remind parents not to drop their kids off if they're under 15. Kids 15 and younger need to stay with a parent or guardian.

You can find more information at the festival's website.

The festival is following Georgia law by allowing people with valid carry licenses to bring firearms onto festival grounds.


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