The Cherry Blossom Festival announces Jaime Kaplan as the 2017 Cherry Blossom Parade Grand Marshal! The Annual Parade is Sunday, March 26, at 4 pm on Cherry and Mulberry Streets. Visit cherryblossom.com for more information or applications to participate.

Jaime has been very involved in the Cherry Blossom Festival for years. She has been on the Board of Directors since 2005. She has been involved with the Street Parties, helped with sponsorships and worked on the Gala in her early years. She has even been our very own Petals the Poodle in the past!

Jaime Kaplan, the youngest of four children, was born and raised in Macon, Georgia, and graduated from Stratford Academy in 1979. She held junior rankings as high as first in the state, second in the south, and 18 in the United States. At Stratford, she produced an undefeated record of 156-0 in singles and doubles along with 5 state titles. She also competed on the WTA Tour for six years, achieving world rankings as high as 91 in doubles and 252 in singles. She played in Wimbledon five times, the US Open four times, the French Open four times, and the Australian Open once. A knee injury at Wimbledon forced Jaime to retire in 1989 and she settled in back home in Macon where she has been very involved in the community, raising over $6.4 million for various charities, mainly the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, over the past 28 years.

Jaime was diagnosed with a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia on April 23, 2010. After three rounds of chemo then a bone marrow transplant on August 27 of 2010, Jaime returned to her job as major Gifts Coordinator and Tennis Coach at Stratford Academy in July of 2011. Jaime’s individuals and teams have won 43 region titles and 15 state titles since 2004.

If you ask Jaime her greatest accomplishment, she will tell you that it’s not being inducted into the Stratford Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, or the Macon Sports Hall of Fame, or even the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. She will tell you that it’s the many lives she has touched through her charity work and through her journey with cancer.

Join Jaime and celebrate the 35th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival during the Pinkest Party on Earth!