Seventy years ago the first Azalea Festival was celebrated. Now this festival has come to represent the beginning of spring. The week is filled with activities and has something for everyone. Azaleas found all over Wilmington are in full bloom, painting the town in shades of pink, purple, and white.
The festival starts Wednesday with the Queen’s coronation at 3:00pm. The coronation is a free event where you have a chance to meet the queen. Held at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, this event is attended by celebrity guests, city officials, board members, and the garden club azalea belles. The events continue that day with the Loop the Lake 5K, 10K, and 1 mile fun run around the Greenfield Lake. Wrapping up the day’s excitement is a Temptations Concert featuring Dennis Edwards. The concert featuring one of the most legendary bands to come from the Motown Era is going to be a fun time!
Thursday, the Azalea Festival Queen, celebrities, and the official party visit Parsley Elementary School and the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital. That night another exciting concert is taking place, Cole Swindell with Micheal Ray and CJ Solar performs at the Miller Lite Main stage on Front Street in Downtown Wilmington.
Friday is a busy day with nine events happening! One of the most popular events of the festival is the Airlie Luncheon and Garden Party. Attended by 2,500 guests, the Garden Party, is a luncheon held in the idyllic Airlie Gardens. Also starting on Friday are the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour and Juried Art Show. Friday night’s concert is Duran Duran and opening act Roadkill Ghost Choir.
Saturday and Sunday the events continue with the historic home tour, art show, garden tour, and Jason Derulo performing Saturday night. Additionally, the street fair will be taking place in Historic Downtown Wilmington, and includes vendors selling clothes, photography, jewelry, candles, wine, funnel cakes, and ice cream. The parade, taking place at 9:30am Saturday, is one of the largest events in Southeastern NC, with over 100,000 viewers attending each year! Ending the Saturday night festivities is the fireworks show which starts at 9:00pm.