Back in Bloom
Azalea Festival returns to regular format
Celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary, the North Carolina Azalea Festival will bring a full schedule of events to Wilmington this month.
“Everyone knows the past two years were rough on everyone, especially on the events industry. So this year’s seventy-fifth anniversary festival is extra special,” says Azalea Festival executive director ALISON BARINGER, who has run the festival for sixteen years.
The festival will be a blend of traditional and new events.
“My favorite part of the entire festival is parade morning,” Baringer says.
After two years of disruptions, festival happenings from the street fair (in a new location) to concert acts to community events are back in the lineup April 6-10.
“We have over 1,000 volunteers who create festival magic. People volunteer in ways we don’t even know about. Families are making memories,” Baringer says. “My hope is that in thirty years, kids will bring their kids to the festival.”
Here are some of the events planned for this year’s Azalea Festival. Several events are free to attend, while others require tickets. For event updates, ticket info, and a full schedule, go to ncazaleafestival.org/events.
QUEEN’S CORONATION CELEBRATION CONCERT
April 6 | Live Oak Bank Pavilion
The new Queen Azalea, NIA IMANI FRANKLIN, a composer, actress, singer, and former Miss America winner (shown above), is crowned in a televised ceremony at 7 p.m. Following the coronation, a celebration concert takes place with local gospel artists East Coast Community Choir, DJ Bigg B, and headliner Girl Named Tom.
April 7 | Live Oak Bank Pavilion
With platinum albums and seven number one hits, Gilbert combines electric guitar-shredding, rapping, and twang in a night of rocking on the lawn.
April 8 | Live Oak Bank Pavilion
Classic rock band REO Speedwagon has sold 40 million albums worldwide with hits including “I Don’t Want to Lose You” and “Here with Me.”
April 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. | Downtown Wilmington
CAPE FEAR GARDEN CLUB AZALEA GARDEN TOUR
April 8-10 | CFCC Schwartz Center Parking Lot
April 9 -10 | Wilmington Convention Center
Some of the finest boxers from across the U.S. compete in six divisions and multiple age groups.
April 9 | Elks Lodge
April 9 | Live Oak Bank Pavilion
1990s hip-hop group Cypress Hill caps off the festival’s main concert series, with opening act Big Daddy Kane.
April 9, starting at 9 p.m.
HISTORIC WILMINGTON FOUNDATION HOME TOUR
April 9-10 | Downtown Wilmington and Carolina Heights