10 Things You May Not Know About the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina
Posted On Monday, March 21, 2016
If you've ever spent any time on the eastern coast of North Carolina, then you most likely have heard about one of Wilmington, North Carolina's signature events: The Azalea Festival. It's where Southern charm is in full bloom with a springtime celebration like no other. It's definitely a scene to be seen, as they say.
In honor of the soon-coming 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival happening April 6-10, we've rounded up a list of top 10 things you may not know about this locally-loved event. Let's see what you do know and what you can learn.
1. There's an app for that.
Yes, there is a free North Carolina Azalea Festival app available at both the App Store and on Google Play. Did you download it yet?
2. The first North Carolina Azalea Festival was held in April of 1948.Want to know how it all began? You can thank Dr. W. Houston Moore and a few other local residents for that. Read more about the history of the NC Azalea Festival and its origins to learn all about it.
3. There's a military demonstration by the Citadel Summerall Guards.One of the perks of being an Azalea Festival sponsor is an invitation to watch the Citadel Summerall Guards perform at the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party. This special event is only for sponsors and invited guests, so you may not know anything about it. The intricate maneuvers performed by the Guards is completed without any verbal commands, and many hours of practice are required to achieve the peak of perfection. You can read more about this special Azalea Festival military demonstration and how you can become a sponsor.
4. You're in the presence of royalty.The traditional arrival of Queen Azalea kicks off the official opening of the five-day event. Stars glitter throughout town as Southern belles and their escorts promenade through lush gardens at the annual garden party. Everywhere the blooming azaleas offer colorful testimony to the rich heritage of coastal Carolina.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival is proud to announce UNC Wilmington graduate Anna Kooiman is the festival�s 69th Queen Azalea. Anna currently serves as anchor and co-host on Fox and Friends Weekend and general assignment news reporter for FOX News Channel based in New York City.
5. The NC Azalea Festival is big, really big.The festival�s concerts, fairs and special events are viewed by more than one million people each year, in person and through media coverage. More than 200,000 are estimated to attend the annual two-day street fair, while more than 100,000 gather to watch the festival parade. It's popular for a reason! Come see for yourself.
6. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes action.Because it's a large event with a big draw, it takes more than 1,000 volunteers to stage over 50 events ranging from concerts to art shows, a street fair with interactive displays, home and garden tours, a parade, special exhibits, a circus, and a variety of other entertainment and events. There is also a lot of giveback to the community, courtesy of the Azalea Festival.
7. The North Carolina Azalea Festival is a Southeastern Tourism Society Top 20 Event.The Southeast Tourism Society often selects the North Carolina Azalea Festival as one of its Top 20 Events. For fifteen years, the Southeast Tourism Society, a non-profit organization, has published its Top 20 Events list. Over 400 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, AAA affiliates and other travel organizations receive the listing.
8. The best performances from your favorite artists happen right here.Each year the event showcases national headliner performers during the Azalea Festival Concert Series. Throughout the years there have been many wonderful performers including Frank Sinatra, Brad Paisley, Patti LaBelle, Jessica Simpson, the Avett Brothers, and Sugarland.
Bow-wow-wow yippee-yo yippee-yay, Snoop Dogg is definitely in the house! He's one of the headlining performers right along with Doug E. Fresh this year. Check out the rest of the 2016 performers on this year's Azalea Festival concert series lineup.
9. Families love the Azalea Festival for all of its kid-friendly activities.You seriously will not run out of things to do for the kids at the festival. From art contests to children's tea and from the children's area to the fireworks, kids and families love it here!
Speaking of fireworks, they are a favorite festival event and are a sight to behold over the majestic Cape Fear River. Come early to pick out your best viewing spot!
See all of the 2016 NC Azalea Festival events on tap for this year.
10. 2016 honors the 75th anniversary of the USS North Carolina Battleship.Especially for this year's festival, the "living history crew� (active Marines in WWII attire) are bringing the battleship to life on Saturday, April 9th. At 1:15p.m., there is a special cake cutting for all guests and an appearance by Queen Azalea along with other celebrity guests. Read more about the USS North Carolina Battleship 75th Anniversary Celebration at the Azalea Festival here.
Are you going to this year's North Carolina Azalea Festival? See you in Wilmington!