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'He's influenced us:' Downtown Macon celebrates Otis Redding's 78th birthday on First Friday

Musicians sang songs and restaurants served King of Soul-inspired dishes.

MACON, Ga. — Downtown Macon honored music legend Otis Redding Friday night to celebrate what would have been his 78th birthday for First Friday. Redding was a singer-songwriter who was native to Central Georgia. He died in the late 1960sm but many are keeping his memory alive through his music. 

His birthday would have been Tuesday, but The Otis Redding Foundation said they wanted the community to come together to celebrate him on Friday. 

Bethany Tapee and Haley Favors have been Otis Music campers for last two years. On Friday night, they used their talents to celebrate the King of Soul's birthday.

"He's influenced a bunch of these kids, especially in the camp. He's influenced us to be better songwriters and better singers, like we want to be better because of him," said Tapee. 

The teens drew a crowd outside of Fatty's Pizza between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Justin Andrews with the Otis Redding Foundation says it's nice to see people are touched by the power of Redding's music. 

"I've heard stories about how it's gotten people through hardships, how it's the first thing they play in the morning, of course, marriages and first dances," said Andrews. 

Otis Music Camp coaches Vinson Muhammad and Sa'von King performed a few Otis-inspired tunes near the fountain between on Third Street. 

While musicians sang, people got a chance to eat at restaurants like the Rookery, Oliver's Corner Bistro, and the Decadent Dessert Bar to try some King of Soul-inspired food. 

Decadent Dessert served a "Too Hard To Handle!" large chocolate brownie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream, and toffee bits.

The Rookery served the "Big 'O' Burger," served with a fried onion ring, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, and BBQ sauce.

Satterfield's served a "Try a Little Tenderness Brisket Sandwich" that was sauced and topped with pickles. 

"Maybe we can, hopefully, continue this every First Friday in September," said Andrews. 

A portion of the proceeds from the Redding-inspired meals sold goes to the Otis Redding Foundation's music and arts education programs.

RELATED: Kids perform at 2019 Otis Music Camp finale

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RELATED: Just Curious: What is the history of the Otis Redding Foundation?

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