The North Carolina Azalea Festival is Wilmington’s annual community celebration and the largest festival of its kind in the state. Founded in 1948, the Azalea Festival has emerged as Wilmington’s premier event.
Each April, a full week of natural beauty, big-name entertainment, festive galas, fun family events and Southern hospitality come together to showcase the charms of the Wilmington area. For community pride and springtime pageantry, the North Carolina Azalea Festival has no equal!
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. Each event is a celebration, beginning with the traditional arrival of Queen Azalea at 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 Festival is a great source of local pride, with the entire community involved in displaying Wilmington to the world in its finest colors. More than 1,000 volunteers are required 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.
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.
Staging the Azalea Festival – every year for more than fifty years – is a real community effort, and everyone who works on, participates in or simply enjoys the Festival can be proud of these honors. They are a positive reflection on the greater Wilmington area as well.