The Azalea Festival held on April 11 – 15 in Wilmington is the oldest and largest festival in the Old North State. This year marks the 65th year that it has been held and promises to be one of its best years.

The event kicks off on Wednesday morning with the arrival of Queen Azalea, which will be Erika Dunlap, Miss America 2004. The traditional garden party will be held at Airlie Gardens on Friday and a wonderful two-hour parade will kick off Saturday’s events. The parade will include floats, marching bands, circus animals, clowns, and celebrities. Following the parade will be an all-day street fair on Saturday and Sunday. Participants will be rewarded with live musical and dance performances, a kids’ area, food vendors, dance contests, special exhibits, visiting ships, and lots of arts and crafts. There will be a concert and fireworks on Saturday night.

Some of the spectacular festival-sponsored events that will also be held during this time is the Azalea Garden Tour and Azalea Home Tour. This is your chance to see private homes and gardens that are not normally open to the public. For more information, go to and For a schedule of other fun events, such as a traveling tent circus, coin show, and boxing tournament, check out

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the magnificant azaleas! You won’t want to miss the beautiful, blossoming azaleas that can be found all over greater Wilmington. For more information on the festival, visit

Terrance Zepke, Guest Blogger
Author of Coastal North Carolina: Its Enchanting Islands, Towns and Communities