5 Things You Should Know About The Capricorn Barbecue and Southern Games

Let's take a trip down memory lane to a time when there was a strong link between southern rock and politics.  Phil Walden's support of a 51-year-old peanut farmer and former Georgia governor's quest for the Presidency landed Walden and his checkbook right in the middle of a primary presidential campaign after Carter lent his weight to a strict anti-piracy bill.

Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, throughout his campaigning, “associated himself with the rock industry more than any other potential candidate.”  Throughout his campaign, a number of Capricorn acts played benefit concerts to raise money for Carter's campaign and Carter, in turn, attended Capricorn picnics and introduced the Allman Brothers on stage.  


1.  the annual picnic was held at Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park was originally known as the Macon Outing Club (ca. 1897) and was “one of the best known social organizations in this section of Georgia." Phil Walden bought Lakeside in 1975 and opened up the park to the public.  Under Walden's watchful eye, Lakeside boasted a restaurant, a pub with 5 decks up and over the lake and Macon’s first discotheque that was converted from an old bowling alley.  

2.  the food

The event’s most popular feature was the food.  The barbecue feast was usually laid out buffet-style in the covered pavilion along the water's edge. Picnic tables were set-up in another pavilion, just a short walk from the waters edge.  The chow-line featured local specialties such as “red hot” chicken, fried pork, cornbread and black-eyed peas.

3.  Invitation only

When Lakeside closed to the public, Walden later used the property to host the annual Capricorn Barbecue and Summer Games.  A company tradition, the Capricorn BBQ and Summer Games was a free, invitation-only extravaganza.

4.  the guest list

Capricorn’s famed annual picnic was so hip it brought celebrities such as Don King, Andy Warhol, Jimmy Carter, Bette Midler, Martin Mull, Cher and Ronnie Van Zant to Macon’s Lakeside Amusement Park.

5.  reunions

In January of 1977, Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts ran into each other at President Jimmy Carter's Inauguration. This chance meeting allowed them to settle their differences and the band reformed a few months later; only to make a surprise reunion performance at the Capricorn Picnic, signaling the advance promotion for their “Enlightened Rogues” album that was released later that year. 

Read More About Lakeside Park and 4 Other Luscious Landscapes That Are No Longer In Existence.