Be prepared to spend the next 4 days with everyone you know.
The Reader’s Choice Awards are back and yours truly was not nominated this year. However, that means that instead of the stomach clenching pain of the possibility of this local only blog winning and then the disappointment of finding out a national website won, I will be able to sit back and watch all the action happen. What that also means is that my friends have all my attention and don’t have to spend the night feeling sorry for me. Also, no one will buy me sympathy shots. Bummer.
But all the things that make Macon great, as nominated by you, dear readers, will be out in full force, usually in their finest and ready to have fun. They will cheer when they win, laugh when they lose, and drink champagne/beer/mixed drinks like champions. Because if you’re out, you’re a winner.
Now does it mean you’re not a winner if you don’t make it to the Awards on Thursday? Maybe if that was the only thing that was going on this weekend, but you will need plenty of rest as you consider where to expend your energy this weekend. Whether you spend the obvious school night and stay out with the people most of Macon considers the best or you decide to indulge in a small park beer fest, whether you consider watching cars built by your friends racing down a very steep hill (nothing could go wrong, right?), or you decide that the music you want to hear is played by a band named KOPECKY and Sunday is the best day for it, you definitely have a lot to consider. So what’s on tap for this weekend? The big things and the small things that equal the awesome things? Check it out below!
I’m a cheerleader for Macon. I don’t deny it. I want to write in a way that puts a spotlight on the positive things that Macon has to offer. The people, the places, the experiences, and all the things that make Macon great. I’m not a fool, as some would think to call me, because of my eternal optimism. I just believe that thinking and acting positively towards the things that are positive and putting your shoulder to the grindstone to make the negative things better is a much better system of changing things than constant complaint, throwing your hands up, and lack of interaction.
Sometimes it’s frustrating.
I was born in Macon, Georgia. I spent the first years of adulthood trying to get the hell out of this town. And I did leave and live in some fantastic places and some not so fantastic places, but when I came back I knew I had to make the city I was in a place I would love to call home.
Macon has everything a city needs to be spectacular. Great dining worth broadcasting in regional and national publications. Affordable living and landlords that are not slumlords. Charming neighborhoods where you can walk across the street and borrow a cup of sugar, just like your grandmother did in the old days. Historic preservation that gives us a sense of place and attracts more visitors than many suspect. A governmental body that, despite its in-fighting, disagreements, and unfortunate racial divide, still manages to get things done for its citizens and continually works to do more. Unique businesses that drive commerce from outside of the city. The fact that I could go on from here is a testament to how far the city has come since I moved back in 1996.
The blessing and the curse of Macon is the people. In 2003, when I was living in Los Angeles, I found that despite falling in love with the weather; the diversity of activities, food, and people; and the beauty of the coast, not to mention the mountains that were only a few hours drive away, I missed the unique friendliness that makes up Macon, Georgia. For example, when I moved back in 1996, there was a little coffee shop on Cherry Street. I’d moved from Boston and wanted just a good cuppa. John Relyea, the proprietor, not only had a great selection of teas but an eclectic group of customers that basically informed what I have come to think of when I think of downtown Macon. It was the only place I could go after 8pm. Now, I have a variety of places to plug in my laptop, so to speak, and though there is a different group of them, I wouldn’t trade the eclectic, diverse groups that make up my downtown experience for the world. I have made friends just by sitting at a bar and saying hello, something I have not been able to duplicate anywhere in the United States as well as I have here.
All That To Say…
For the first part of the Locals Showcase, I will be at the Patron Party. Now, don’t mind if I give anything away, but…
This year, the Patron Party is New Orleans themed and being held at the Marriott Conference Center. That’s right, you can snack on andouille sliders and suck the head of crawfish for most of the night. Drinks abound, including the new Macon Beer Company IPA, Macon Music. And you can gamble… for prizes. Why didn’t you get your tickets already??? Never fear; if you decide you want to go, you can buy a patron party pass the night of the event, which includes a concert crawl ticket, at the Marriott.
Full Disclosure: I work for Middle Georgia State College and I frequent the Hummingbird Stage and Taproom. Often. It is one of my favorite bars. But when I say that the Middle Georgia State College stage is my favorite complete stage for the festival, I’m not saying that out of anything but pure admiration for the team that put this stage together. In previous years, I get why different bands have been at this stage, but this year, the bands match the venue so well – what the bar is on a regular basis, the type of music you normally hear there, etc. The only stages that are put together as well is the 11th Hour Stage at Roasted Cafe and Lounge and The Deeps Roots Festival Stage at the Hangar.
That’s not to say that the other spots don’t offer great music. Far from it. While other stages offer the eclectic mix that might draw a variety of people, those who find themselves crowding the Middle Georgia State College Stage at the Bird will get more their money’s worth.
It’s not often that I look through my events on Facebook and think, “How am I going to do it all?” I mean, it’s happened before on weekends… and remember those few months where Tuesday and Thursday were the busiest days of the week? It’s getting close to that again especially with all of the music the Moonhanger Group is bringing to The Cox Capitol Theatre – but they are not alone. Here are all the things you can do this weekend, and I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry, but you’re going to hate me because you’ll want to do them all as well.