By: Ashley Griffin, Director of Admissions
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom and need a little day-time break from the kids, or you have family visiting and you want to get out of the house to show off our great community, why not spend some time exploring downtown Macon with these five summer picks!
1. 567 Center for Renewal
This Cherry Street art studio has served as the backdrop for churches, Bragg Jam concerts, and much more. Now it is a non-profit art community and space whose purpose is to “bring creative life to downtown Macon.” They offer art classes for kids and adults, including the popular “Sip & Paint” and “Corks & Canvas,” along with photography workshops, WordPress instruction, and art exhibits. The gallery features local artists and is open Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with free admission! Coming in June & July: Spaced: Artwork by Casie Trace and From Paper to Print: contemporary printmaking by local artists. The studio can also be rented out for birthday parties and other special events. Make it a day out by stopping by neighboring Rookery afterwards for a delicious burger and world-famous milkshake.
2. Otis Redding Foundation Music Camp
In its 10th year, the music camp moves to the renowned Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. This year’s camp will be held June 5-16, and campers will experience songwriting, voice lessons, building relationships with professional singers and producers, recording original works, and more. The Otis Redding Foundation has a long history of “improving the quality of life for our community through the education and empowerment of its youth.” Otis Redding is a legend throughout the world and very special to the Middle Georgia community. His love and passion for music and education have left an impression on past campers and with his family’s dedication to the Foundation, his legacy will continue to influence the lives of young people throughout our community.
3. Bragg Jam
Hopefully, you have already heard about or experienced the Bragg Jam music and arts festival. The volunteer-run organization has grown since its inception in 1999, which was created to honor Brax and Tate Bragg, local singer-songwriters who tragically died in an automobile accident earlier that year. The organization hosts the annual events during the last weekend in July but also Second Sunday concerts on Coleman Hill throughout the year. This year’s festival will include a Moonlight Miles 5K, Arts & Kids Fest, and the concert crawl, which includes over 80 bands on 20 stages all over Macon, all evening long. Mark your calendars for an event for the whole family you will not want to miss!
4. Bike Macon
There has been a big push in recent years to encourage walking and biking in downtown Macon. Organizations and interest parties such as NewTown Macon, Bike Walk Macon, and Macon Bike Share have all developed safe and fun ways for individuals and families to explore downtown Macon on bikes. Don’t have a bike of your own? Don’t worry. Macon has a bike share program with stations at the Washington Memorial Library, Tubman Museum, and the Spring Street Trailhead of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. Grab one and follow this agenda for a day of fun with your family:
- Start at the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail Spring Street trailhead and spend some time exploring the nine miles of trails along the Ocmulgee River. The trail connects to Central City Park and the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds. Coming soon: connecting the downtown trail to Amerson River Park!
- Head toward Mercer Law School and to the slides at Coleman Hill. Your kids will love you for it.
- No peddling required as you ride down Mulberry Street to 1st Cool off and enjoy lunch at the new Piedmont Brewery. Again, your kids will love you as they spend time in the arcade located in the restaurant’s basement.
- Bike back down Cherry Street for a yummy dessert at Cherry Street Scoops, before heading to Forsyth Street and the renovated Daisy Park. Basketball courts and a kid-friendly splash pad await kids on a hot summer day.
In addition to the Otis Redding Music Camp, downtown Macon is full of summer camp opportunities for your children, including Mercer’s College for Kids, computer camp, Upward Bound, and an array of sports camps. Mount de Sales Academy’s popular SPLASH camp will run for two weeks in June and offers students in grades 1-6 an incredible selection of classes, such as Lego Robotics, Woodworking, Arena Football, 3D Wall Art, and Science Yum. St. Joseph’s Catholic School and St. Peter Claver Catholic School offer affordable all-day summer programs with themed weeks, games, crafts, and weekly field trips. This year’s Macon Little Theatre camp offers theater instruction and campers will perform Aladdin the first full week of June. On June 22 and 29, The Ocmulgee National Monument will be hosting one-day, FREE workshops for children ages 6-12, which includes hiking, story-telling, games, crafts, and some amazing local history.
There are a lot of people investing and working hard to continue the revitalization of the city’s urban core. Get out, explore, and enjoy the summer in downtown Macon!