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Women's History Wednesday: The impact of Carolyn Crayton on Macon

Crayton is a founder of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival that's held right here in Macon.

MACON, Ga. — Every Wednesday during Women's History Month, we're celebrating all things women! This week, we want to introduce you to the queen of pink, Carolyn Crayton.

Crayton is a founder of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival that's held right here in Macon.

"I love pink. I really do. I even enjoy wearing it," said Crayton.

There's something else she loves almost as much as the color pink and that is the city of Macon.

"My husband was deciding whether we were going to move to Macon or not, we came to Macon to see what we thought -- we were not familiar with Macon at that time. It was March and we were just driving all over town," recalled Crayton.

That's when something lifechanging caught her eye.

"And all of the sudden, we were on [the road] that Mr. Fickling lived on and those trees were in full bloom. They were so beautiful. Oh, they just stopped me in my tracks there... so gorgeous," said Crayton.

She's talking about the cherry blossom trees that sat on Bill Fickling's farm. 

"We just had to make a stop and get to meet him," said Crayton.

The stop was the start of something big. The conversation turned into Fickling giving Crayton many Yoshino cherry trees to plant around town.

"He was just so thankful to see the planting on Wesleyan Woods. Every 30 feet, on every street, we put a cherry tree. He and his wife were just so touched by this, they had tears," said Crayton.

After the planting, Fickling told Crayton that he would continue to give her cherry trees for as long as he lived so she could help make Macon beautiful.

Her way of thanking him was by starting the Cherry Blossom Festival in his honor.

"The first festival was in 1982 and it was just for the weekend," said Crayton.

The festival took place throughout town and hundreds of people were in attendance. Fast forward to 2022 and the festival is now 10 days long, bringing in thousands of people to Carolyn Crayton Park (formerly Central City Park).

"I love Macon. It's thrilling to see people have such a good time at festival time. We get all excited about it, it's time for the festival! It's just amazing," said Crayton.

RELATED: The Cherry Blossom Festival is back in full bloom and business owners are ready for the crowds

RELATED: How did cherry blossoms take root in Macon, and when will they bloom?

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