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Former Miss America to reign over Azalea Festival

READ MORE: Former Miss America to reign over Azalea Festival

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A former Miss America will reign as Queen of the 64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival next month, festival organizers announced today.

Heather French Henry won the crown of Miss America in 2000. She is also a fashion designer with her own clothing line. As Miss America and since, Henry has traveled the nation championing veteran's issues. That dedication ties into this year's Azalea Festival's focus on honoring the military.

"Heather's father is a disabled veteran, and he was the inspiration for her to create The Heather French Foundation for Veterans," festival president Hank Estep said. "Heather French Henry's involvement with the military honors our nation's heroes connects our Queen to the Festival's mission of recognizing our military."

Next month's festivities include the Queen Azalea Battleship Salute. The April 9 event will kick-off the 50th anniversary of the Battleship docking in Wilmington and mark the 70th anniversary of the ship's commissioning. It will also recognize WWII crew members of the USS North Carolina still alive today. Capt. Terry Bragg, the executive director of the Battleship, will host the event and join the Azalea Festival as an official celebrity guest.

The military theme continues during the Azalea Festival Parade, which will include several military units and has retired USMC Maj. Gen. Bob Dickerson as Parade Marshal.

Also joining the festival as celebrity guests are wrestling legend Ric Flair, UNCW women's basketball coach and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and newly-crowned Azalea Princess Hannah Smith.

For more information on the 64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival visit And stayed tuned to WWAY NewsChannel 3 and for continuing coverage of this year's festival.

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For all of you Einsteins below....

...this woman was "Miss America" in 2000, can you not read? Her involvement with veterans fits perfectly with the Azalea Festivals recognition of our veterns and fallen heros that protect the freedom to display stupidity as you have done. Do you really have this big of a problem supporting our veterans, or just simply know so very little about how to do that?

If Mary, the Mother of God herself were to be deemed the festival queen, there are those of you that will whine and complain about it or even wonder who SHE is......Geeez...Tell you what, why don't you save your money, time and gas. Go attend the great spot festival in Hampstead, or the skrimps festival in Sneeds Ferry. You're likely to run into people you'll recognize there!!!

I am not really into

I am not really into religion, but if my memory serves me correctly, Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I think this is what Christmas is all about. You might want to do some research.

Who is she,and why is she

Who is she,and why is she getting all the work?

WHO????????!!!!!! Are ya

WHO????????!!!!!! Are ya kiddin' me?

Once again Azalea Festival

Once again Azalea Festival committee WHO? Way to phone it in again. Why not just have a pageant and choose somebody locally? At least then we would know and care who the queen is more.

hahaha I was gonna respond

hahaha I was gonna respond with the quote!!!! "WHO"??? How many rejections did the committee get before going after this one? I am sure she is a nice person and means well... But what???