Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful is recognized as a model program within the framework of the nation’s initial initiative by Keep America Beautiful, Inc. It was established through a collaborative ordinance of the City of Macon and Bibb County in 1974 and operates under the governance of an appointed Board of Commissioners.

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful’s remarkable achievements laid the foundation for the establishment of the inaugural state initiative, Keep Georgia Beautiful, in 1978. Additionally, it gave rise to its own beautification and signature event, Macon, Georgia’s International Cherry Blossom Festival, in 1983.

Originally conceived as a project involving the planting of 10,000 tulips, the initiative quickly expanded its scope to encompass activities such as trash cleanup, demolition of old structures, clearing vacant lots, and the planting of over 360,000 Yoshino cherry trees.

The backstory revolves around Carolyn Crayton, a member of the Federated Garden Club in Macon. Motivated to enhance the aesthetic appeal of downtown Macon’s storefronts and parks with flowers, Crayton spearheaded efforts to involve local businesses and community members in beautification projects. However, the allure of blooming flowers also revealed the problem of litter. Taking initiative, Crayton launched a campaign against littering by educating herself, reaching out to Keep America Beautiful, and mobilizing the community to clean up Macon. This initiative led to Macon, Georgia, becoming one of the pioneering affiliates of Keep America Beautiful in the country. Crayton’s ability to inspire community leaders and volunteers to support and fund the program became legendary. As Ed Grisamore states in his book “The Pinkest Party on Earth,” “Everywhere she looked, Carolyn Crayton saw beauty.

Since Carolyn Crayton founded Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful in 1974, the organization has earned over 100 national and state awards.