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Azalea Festival blooms

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Featuring a weekend full of events largely arising from Southern traditions, the North Carolina Azalea Festival returns April 10-12.

The annual concerts, parade and fireworks will pair again with the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour, Airlie Luncheon Garden Party and more.

Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008, has been named the festival queen.

The multicultural stage on the corner of Walnut and North Front streets will feature authentic, colorful costumes from an array of ethnicities throughout the day Saturday and Sunday.

Yvonne Pagan, chair of the multicultural committee, said the multicultural portion of the festival began 10 years ago at Roland-Grise Middle School.

New this year is a Native American tribe, the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe, joining Polynesian, Irish, Chinese, Filipino and other performers.

“You may read about something in a history book, you see the picture there,” Pagan said. “… Every 20-25 minutes, you’re going to see a different performing group. You can let your imagination run away with you.”

For the second year, there will be the Children’s Multicultural March at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, featuring children from the performing groups.

“What we’re trying to do is preserve the culture. That is what’s most important here that the children and the families feel that,” Pagan said. “… We want to make sure that people develop a better understanding and appreciation of the different cultures, and this is where we’re able to do it.”

Another large festival component is the live concert series.

Ben Seawell, co-chair of the North Carolina Azalea Festival Miller Lite Main Stage, coordinates the infrastructure building, turning an empty parking lot into a massive production concert venue.

On Thursday, Justin Moore, Randy Houser and Josh Thompson will take the stage. Then, Widespread Panic will perform Friday and Saturday nights.

“It’s probably one of the biggest events that the Azalea Festival has,” Seawell said. “… The community has been very excited, especially the Widespread fans. You’ve got some people who have never heard of them, then you’ve got people that are just crazy about them.”

In 2013, the committee aimed for three different demographics during the three nights of concerts.

“We had Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Avett Brothers, then … Colt Ford,” Seawell said. “Last time we tried to hit every genre we could.”

He added that safety is the No. 1 goal, with plenty of concert security lined up.

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Azalea Festival Schedule of Events

Azalea 5k/10k/Fun Walk*

Saturday, April 5, 8 a.m.

TrySports Field at Mayfaire Town Center

Kids, dogs and costumes are all welcome at this fun run to benefit the Cape Fear Volunteer Center Big Buddy Program.


Visiting Ships

Wednesday April 9-Sunday April 13

Cape Fear Riverside, downtown Wilmington

Experience a variety of ships docked along the Cape Fear River.


Queen’s Coronation

Wednesday, April 9, 3 p.m.

Riverfront Park, downtown Wilmington

Meet the officially crowned North Carolina Azalea Festival’s Queen Azalea as she, celebrity guests and the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles disembark from North Carolina’s largest riverboat, the Henrietta III.


Cole Bros. Circus*

Thursday, April 10, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 11, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 12, 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

Wilmington International Airport

Be amazed by daring feats and exotic animals in this action-filled two-hour performance.


Off the Beaten Path Tour*

Thursday April 10, 8 p.m.

Main Stage, CFCC, 411 N. Front Street, downtown Wilmington

Get ready for some boot scootin’ at this country music concert, headlined by Justin Moore, and featuring Randy Houser and Josh Thompson.


Juried Art Show

Friday, April 11, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hannah Block Historic USO, 120 S. Second Street, downtown Wilmington

Browse a collection of paintings by more than 100 artists from North Carolina and across the United States.


Cape Fear Garden Club’s

61st Annual Azalea Garden Tour*

Friday-Sunday, April 11-13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Various locations

Walk through some of Wilmington’s finest yards and gardens in one of the South’s longest-running and most-loved springtime garden tours.


Street Fair

Friday, April 11, 6-10 p.m.

Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Water, Front and Market streets, downtown Wilmington

Stroll among craft, art and food vendors. A fireworks show will be featured at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Visit the street fair main stage at 411 N. Front Street and the multicultural stage at the corner of Walnut and N. Front streets for a variety of performances.


Widespread Panic*

Friday April 11, 8 p.m.

Saturday April 12, 8 p.m.

Main Stage, CFCC, 411 N. Front Street, downtown Wilmington

Rock out to back-to-back performances by jam-band legends from Athens, Georgia.



Saturday, April 12, 9 a.m.-noon

Third Street, downtown Wilmington

Enjoy this Azalea Festival classic, featuring floats, bands, marching units and more in historic downtown Wilmington.


Coin Show

Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

American Legion Hall, 702 Pine Grove Road

Learn about U.S. and foreign currency with more than 30 regional vendors.


Historic Home Tour*

Saturday, April 12, 1-6 p.m.

Sunday, April 13, 1-5 p.m.

Various locations

Get a special peek inside Wilmington’s irreplaceable historic homes, with proceeds benefiting the Historic Wilmington Foundation.


Amateur Boxing Tournament

Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13, 2-6 p.m.

Williston Middle School, 401 S. 10th Street

Attend a showcase of some of the finest boxers from the national and international levels of competition.


*Ticketed event. Visit www.ncazaleafestival.org for admission information.

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