Top 5 Things To See at Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC

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Wilmington, North Carolina is home to many unique tourist attractions along the east coast, but by far my most favorite is the Azalea Festival. The festival brings in tourists from around the country as our coastal community comes together to celebrate spring, family fun and of course, the azaleas!

As said best on the North Carolina Azalea Festival website

 A Scene to be Seen. Celebrate Spring Southern Style at the North Carolina Azalea Festival.

Here are my Top 5 Things To See at Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC

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I am a local of Wilmington, North Carolina and have always remembered the North Carolina Azalea Festival as the sign of spring officially blossoming in our little city. Wilmington comes to life before the festival with garden parties, concerts, azalea belles and more. With all of the events taking place, you are sure to find something to fit your liking to enjoy and experience. Wilmington kicks off the North Carolina Azalea Festival this year from April 6th through the 10th with events leading up to the parade that runs the length of the streets downtown. If you have never visited Wilmington during the spring, here are my top 5 things to see at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC!

Princess Court & Azalea Belles

Every little girls dream comes alive in weeks leading up to the Azalea Festival as the city is filled with tiaras, queens, princesses and azalea belles. Each year, the North Carolina Azalea Festival crowns an Azalea Queen who is accompanied by her princess court. You can catch them in action during several festivities around Wilmington including the scholarship pageant, Children’s Tea,  and the Queen’s Coronation.

View all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

Community Events 

The community events that take place during the North Carolina Azalea Festival are a great way to get involved and experience something new that Wilmington, NC has to offer. On March 18th, the Spring Soiree will be held in downtown Wilmington at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside with this years soiree theme, “Luck of the Festival”. If you’re a fan of running, you can catch the Azalea 5k/10k/Kid’s Run on Saturday, April 2nd. Proceeds from the run benefit the Cape Fear Volunteer Center Big Buddy Program. Registration for the race ends March 30th, and you can sign up here. The Azalea Sweep will also be held on Saturday, April 2nd and is a volunteer event to help clean up the town where the Azalea Queen will visit during her reign. Volunteer applications can be found here and this is an excellent way to give back to the community.

The Brigade Boys & Girls Club Community Visit is one of my favorites as it has been in existence since 1896! You can learn more about the Boys & Girls Club here and view photos from previous Azalea Festival visits to the club here.

The community events are the heart of the festival and you can view all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

View all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

Boys and Girls Club -azalea festival

Concerts

One thing I simply can not describe and you must hear for yourself is the music scene during the events at the North Carolina Azalea Festival. From the sounds of the street fair after the parade on Water Street to the concert events leading up to the close of the festival; the music scene brings the town to life with icons like Alan Jackson and Carly Jo Jackson to name a few. The North Carolina Azalea Festival does not disappoint when it comes to bringing main music attractions to Wilmington. This year’s performances include The Avett Brothers on April 7th, the City Rockfest Tour on April 8th, Snoop Dogg with Doug E. Fresh on April 8th and Chase Rice with Kane Brown on April 9th.

View all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

Tour the City

Break out your spring colors and big hats for events in and around Wilmington. Some of my favorites are the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party, Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour, and the Historic Home Tour.

View all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade, Street Fair and Fireworks

The community comes together once a year for the annual Azalea Parade held in downtown Wilmington. This family friendly event offers not only the sights of the parade and street fair, but an opportunity to see downtown Wilmington at its finest as the city welcomes locals and guests from across the nation. Grab your spot early along the sidewalks as the parade wraps around the streets of downtown, followed by the street fair that brings main tent attractions, vendors from across the area, music and food. This is by far my family’s most favorite part as we go every year and end the celebration by watching the fireworks!

View all of the events by visiting the North Carolina 2016 Events page linked here.

Here are a few of my tips to make the parade and street fair an enjoyable experience for your family:

  • Plan to arrive early as most streets of downtown Wilmington are closed off for the parade route.
  • Bring spending cash for parking, vendors, food and donations.
  • Many area churches offer off street parking and the parking fee goes towards a good cause.
  • Dress in layers as the weather is typically warm but can be chilly in the morning. Welcome to North Carolina where you can experience all four seasons within one day!
  • If you are traveling with a family, bring a backpack or wagon to carry folding chair or blankets for your parade seating.
  • Check local forecasts for weather and traffic updates.
  • Download a parking buddy app on your phone so you can navigate back to your car safely after the parade and street fair.
  • Bring a travel kit with hand sanitizer and wet wipes.

*All images for this post courtesy of the North Carolina Azalea Festival.

We hope to see you out and about at this years North Carolina Azalea Festival!

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Sarah Eckert, Co-Founder Carolina Blogging

About the author. Sarah Eckert is the owner and co-founder of Carolina Blogging. She is a native to Wilmington, North Carolina. She resides in a small coastal community outside of Wilmington with her family and enjoys catching festivals and events in and around North and South Carolina. You can catch more of her work here on Carolina Blogging and on her personal blog, The Hot Mess Kitchen.

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