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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s that time of year again. The sun’s up longer, yellow pollen is everywhere and azaleas are in bloom. That can only mean one thing: AZALEA FESTIVAL! This week we want to know what’s your favorite event of the week? Is it the Parade on Saturday? The Garden Party on Friday? Or maybe it’s the concerts, or the Historic Home Tour or maybe even the Azalea Garden Tour or Street Fair? Whatever you choose, let us know what you think is the BEST AZALEA FESTIVAL EVENT!

Congratulations to the SHAG CONTEST!

Here’s how the votes shook out:

Shag Contest – 76%
Garden Tour – 12%
Parade – 5%


Best Golf Course: Farmstead Golf Links (4/1)
541 McLamb Road
Calabash, NC 28467
(866) 749-7277
(910) 575-7999

Best Garden Store: Pender Pines (3/25)
20949 US Highway 17 N
Hampstead, NC 28443-3149
(910) 270-2706

Best Local Politician: Sen. Thom Goolsby (3/18)
(R) 9th District
(919) 715-2525

Best Irish Pub: The Dubliner (3/11)
1756 Carolina Beach Road
Wilmington, NC 28401-6138
(910) 343-8342

Best Wrightsville Beach Restaurant: 22 North (3/4)
22 North Lumina Avenue
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
(910) 509-0177

Best Breakfast: K’S CAFE & BAR (2/18)
6322 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 791-6995

Best Lunch Sport: Temptations Everyday Gourmet (2/11)
2 Wilmington locations

Best Sushi: The Bento Box (2/4)
1121 Military Cutoff Road, L
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 509-0774

Best Women’s Clothing Store: Stein Mart (1/28)
3501 Oleander Drive #1
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 772-1533

Best Downtown Restaurant: Copper Penny (1/21)
109 Chestnut Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 762-1373

Best Place to Buy Wine: Noni Bacca Winery (1/14)
420 Eastwood Road, #108
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 397-7617

Best Local Gym: CrossFit Coastal (1/7)
5726 Market Street

Best Electronics Store: Soundtronics (12/24)
5715 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28405
(910) 395-6004

Best Jewelry Store: Reeds Jewelers (12/17)
Independence Mall & Mayfaire Town Center

Best Toy Store: Warehouse 9 (12/10)
814 S. College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 793-6711

Best Place to Buy a Christmas Tree: Cape Fear Optimist Club (12/3)
Kmart Parking Lot
815 S. College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403

Best Bookstore: Pomegranate Books (11/19)
4418 Park Avenue, Wilmington
(910) 452-1107

Best Radio Morning Show: Carter & Jackie in the Morning (11/12)
102.7 GNI

Best High School Marching Band: North Brunswick High School (11/5)

Best Haunted Attraction: Grissettown Longwood Fire Department Haunted Trail (10/30)
758 Longwood Road
Ocean Isle Beach

Best Fried Chicken: Smithfield’s Chicken ‘n Bar-B-Q (10/23)
Three Wilmington/Leland locations

Best Steak: Texas Roadhouse (10/16)
230 Eastwood Road, Wilmington
(910) 798-1770

Best French Fries: P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille (10/9)
Six Wilmington/Leland locations

Best Chinese Food: Szechuan 132 (10/2)
419 S. College Road, Wilmington
(910) 799-1426

Best Italian Food: A Taste of Italy (9/24)
1101 S. College Road, Wilmington
(910) 392-7529

Best Place to Watch a Football Game: Hell’s Kitchen (9/17)
118 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 763-4133

Best Chicken Sandwich: Chick-Fil-A (9/10)
Five Wilmington locations

Best Florist: Moxie Floral Design Studio (9/3)
116-A Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 202-2695

Best Buffet: Golden Corral (8/27)
5130 New Centre Drive
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 392-1984
5211 S. College Road
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 392-7777

Best Bagel: Empire Deli & Bagels (8/20)
7419 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28411-9454
(910) 686-6755
1105 New Pointe Blvd
Leland, NC
(910) 383-8383

Best Iced Tea: Sonja’s Grill (8/13)
15 Coastal Drive Southwest
Supply, NC 28462
(910) 754-5115

Best Bakery: Apple Annie’s (8/6)
837 South Kerr Avenue
(910) 799-9023

Best Sub Sandwich: Sub Stop (7/30)
2432 Carolina Beach Road
Wilmington, NC 28401-7655
(910) 343-0097

Best Burrito: Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (7/23)
4002 Oleander Drive
Wilmington, NC 28403-6815
(910) 799-2919

Best Ice Cream: Calabash Creamery (7/16)
9910 Beach Drive Southwest
Calabash, NC 28467-2710
(910) 575-1180

Best Burgers: Sonja’s Grill (7/9)
15 Coastal Drive Southwest
Supply, NC 28462
(910) 754-5115

Best Hot Dogs: Paul’s Place (7/2)
11725 US Highway 117 S
Rocky Point, NC 28457
(910) 675-2345

Best Coffee: Jumpin’ Java (6/25)
4635 Main Street
Shallotte, NC 28470
(910) 754-5282

Best Wings: Mama Brava’s (6/18)
119 Holden Beach Rd SW
Shallotte, NC 28470-1787
(910) 754-5151

Most Romantic/Best Restaurant to take a Date: Freddie’s Restaurant at Kure Beach (6/11)
111 K Ave
Kure Beach, NC 28449
(910) 458-5979

Best Donuts: Britt’s (6/4)
Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Best Pizza: Princess Pizza (5/28)
204 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401-3951
(910) 772-8006

Best Seafood Platter: Something Fishy (5/21)
3436 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28412-0908
(910) 395-0909

Best Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich: Flip’s BBQ (5/14)
5818 Oleander Drive
Wilmington, NC 28403-4769
(910) 799-6350

Comment on this Story

  • erik

    By far the best event is LEAVING!

  • Guest461

    …where the good Lord splitcha!

    Do us all a favor and make it a one-way trip!!!

  • Confederate

    PLEASE boycott it. I beg you

  • guesty

    If you want a race exclusive event, go to the Latino Festival that is held at Hugh MacRae Park. If you want black festival, you should have gone to the Black Film Festival that was held at the Cameron Art Museum. Then you could have your race exclusive party. Please do boycott everything so the general public won’t have to deal with your racist, ignorant act.

  • Guest228

    Lets celebrate the “old south” once again..shall we? In all those events, WWAY posted, not one hispanic, asian, african american, or any other culture besides caucasian..If minorities do whats right, they would boycott this event until there is fair representation across the board. I remember the azalea festival parade was an event everyone went to because they could identify with a celebrity that was invited, now you have who?

  • FleetGhost

    I understand sentiment against the white southern belle image, but it’s nice to see young women dressed up in formal period costume at a time when women no longer do. Since those costumes were not what was being worn at the time by minorities, why not start a strong minority representation, then and now, however seems appropriate. Of course, young men are not represented either, except as escorts. That doesn’t bother me, given they are most always the main feature in sports activities. Actually, the parade is just one big truck after the other, one big gag from the strong exhaust, with few bands.

  • Guest Apu

    Every public event does not have to be about diversity. The Azalea Festival celebrates some of the good things about old southern culture. It’s not like it’s celebrating slavery or opression. We don’t have to forget where we came from in the name of diversity or simply worrying about not offending someone.

  • Guest228

    those events are not this week hence when the azalea festival is taking place..I never said race excluded events, I said diversity in the azalea festival..white queen, white princess, etc..

  • Confederate

    Well said!!

  • Guest1

    I’m having trouble understanding what you’re tring to say here.

  • guesty

    Read this comment first: “Please tell me where the diversity is in the Azalea Festival?”
    Submitted by Guest228

    And then read my response. He/she wants more Hispanic, Asian and black events. I gave him some to pick from to attend.

  • Guest228

    the azalea festival is this week, not last week or the week before..

  • guesty

    Sorry, again WWAY sat on my comments and then decided to post all 3.

  • Guest1

    I think he/she wants the Azalea Festival to include all cultures.The events you mention are not put on by the city/state so they are not the same. They also didn’t say they wanted more of the events you say.

  • Guest Apu

    Does every event have to be representing the black community?

  • guesty

    The Latino Festival has been going on for years as has the Black Film Festival. Do you also demand diversity in those events? They both happen every year, as does this festival.

  • guesty

    But like the Azalea Festival you complain about, those two also happen every year. Do you complain about them?

  • I don’t understand why the issue of diversity is even being brought up. Isn’t the Azalea Festival sort of based on the historic south? I don’t think that there were black or hispanic belles with gowns on back then, or anyone in a position of authority, civil or military, at that time. However, if that is not the case, then I’m wrong. Why do people automatically assume that a group is being racist? Let’s grow up folks.

  • Guest228

    Im sure if you ask a black person about revisiting the “southern belle” component of the Azalea festival, they would say No Thanks! and what does Azalea and southern belles have to do with each other? If we are holding a festival of flowers, then let it be about flowers..

  • Two Cents

    What?? No black princess, no black queens? YOU ARE WRONG. Take a look on the floats and you will see many black princesses on the local floats…..Cameron Corbett, Taliah Kitt, Lakira Forney, and many more. Right off the top of my head, I remember vividly when Phylicia Rashad was the Azalea Queen(Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show). Stop crying racism when you can’t even get your facts straight. I went to the parade last year and it was an absolute “melting pot”.

  • Guest228

    are you really bringing up a queen from 1990? Even you know that was a long time ago..Im talking about recent years..

  • Guest228

    A black country artist? get out of here..still getting what you want..

  • Guest55787

    Why does it always have to come down to race? Who’s headline act for the Azalea Festival Concert? Hmmmmmm

  • Guest1234567

    You have to be kidding. Seriously?

  • Guest Apu

    Unfortunately, when I go downtown at night, the only part of black culture I seem to encounter are those trying to be like the apprent hero of our local black youth, the now deceased “Merk Biidy.” Is that the type of diversity you’re looking for?

    Don’t want to watch Darius Rucker? Is TI off parole yet for his weapons charges? Maybe he’s available? After all, he used to be a gang member like Merk. How about Lil Wayne? Oh yeah, I forgot. He took your money and stood you up last time he came to town. I’ll take Hootie anytime, and I HATE country music.

  • Guest Mojito

    What’s wrong with him? You want diversity. I’d say a black country singer is the epitome of diversity. The southern Bible-belt whites have been greatly receptive to a black man singing country music. But to you, it doesn’t matter that he’s black, it matters that he’s not black enough for you. So it’s not really about diversity, is it? It’s that he’s not the type of black who sings R&B, soul, hip hop or rap. You’re the one being racist, because you don’t accept him because the whites like him.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    1 Riverfest, 0 Azalea Festivals.

    Reading the comments below, I see pefectly why I stay away – I refuse to suffer fools (or traffic).

    For God’s sake, who cares if one ethnic group chooses to have their own celebration that is 99% geared toward THEM? It’s a poorly camouflaged secret that the Azalea Festival celebrates the way it was in the Antebellum South, but why does that offend you?

    Who cares????? The memories of slavery are so painful to you that sighting a parasol makes you boil with rage? Get real!

    As Guesty pointed out, we have a rapidly growing Latino Festival every year. We have events that are specifically geared toward the Black Community such as the film festival and the MLK Day parade.

    I find nothing particularly offensive about any of those events. As I’m not Latino or Black, I don’t CARE about any of those events. Party hardy, people. It has nothing to do with me.

    Why can’t you have that attitude toward the Azalea Festival, if you find it so offensive and racist?

    So if White babes want to walk around sweating in long ball gowns, pretending they’re at Twelve Oaks, flirting with the Tarleton Twins, WHO CARES? It is a part of their history and heritage, and it’s no more offensive than those ethnic specific events that Guesty mentioned. Let them have their garden tours and high teas. The event is gradually dying off with my generation, anyway.

    If we could find a way to harness useless, needless umbrage from people who are too easily offended, our nation could be energy independent next week.

  • GuestLee

    I heartily agree with your comments! Well said!

  • Guest1234567

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Amen and Amen!

  • GuestLee

    Who would come to just see a bunch of azaleas? People want variety, entertainment, excitement, something different than the ordinary. If they just want to see flowers, they can go to a nursery or a florist shop. For Pete’s sake, does EVERYTHING have to be race oriented? Stop beating a dead horse to death!!!

  • DJ

    Wife and I did the whole Downtown for Azaleafest last year this year were going out of town for the weekend to avoid the whole crazy situation and traffic.. Nuff said

  • Guest767

    We are all getting so very tired of the race card. Lets see there is Miss Black America, Is there a Miss White America NO !!!
    There is Ebony Magazine Is there a White Magazine NO !!!!
    There is Black Entertaiment TV (BET) Is there a White Entertainment TV (WET) NO !!!!!

    If there was you would see Rev. Sharpton and Jessie Jackson all over it..

    This is a festival for all and ENOUGH with RACE !!!!!
    Not everything is about race.


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