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Thousands enjoy Azalea Parade, say it's festival highlight

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Tradition rolled on this weekend as the 65th Annual Azalea Festival Parade rolled through the streets of downtown Wilmington.

With near picture-perfect weather, thousands of folks came out to watch the more than 150 parade participants. Spectators were treated to marching band music, dance performances, animals of all shapes and sizes and, of course, royalty. The Azalea Festival draws people from all over the country, and many say the parade is one of the festival's highlights.

"We're from a little town in Southeast Missouri, so this is a lot of people,” visitor John Mahan said. “This is a lot of excitement for us. The people here all seem to be into it and really like it. They are really good. The units are good. They are all in step, so yeah, it works fine."

Folks were happy to see that the Third Street construction project took a break and cleaned up a bit so the parade could still shine.

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Where does the Azalea

Where does the Azalea Festival get the money to pay the bands $1000.00 to play in the parade?

Too Slow

We love the parade every year. We get up early and truck it downtown and park miles away, carry our chairs, wagon with the baby, sunscreen, water and all the necessities to relax. We get our place early and wait. The parade finally starts! Yah! ..But then we wait and wait as the interval in between each float/event is so slow. It gets boring about 45 minutes into the parade waiting and waiting. Not enough bands this year. We (along with everyone around us) got up and started packing up after what we thought was the last show. This had to have taken at least 10 minutes, as we had blanket, chairs, baby items, trash etc to clean and gather up and low and behold ..here finally comes the combination of JTH, Hanover and Laney bands! What??! We ALL thought it was over..I mean everyone was on the way out. I was commenting how odd that we had not seen the Azalea Queen and thought maybe I had missed her even. But apparently we missed the rest of the parade. This was not our fault and I was HUGELY disappointed to not have seen the Queen, but I was not going to unpack and set it all back up. Come on parade organizers...PLEASE PLEASE get this parade up to speed, get rid of some of the "celebrities" that we dont even know who they are. Speed up the show, and get it done within 1 and 1/2hours. Babies, kids, grandmas, even teens get BORED waiting for so long for this.

Celebrities?

Who picked the unknown celebrities? Everyone that I talked to did not know any of them! And why didn't WWAY cover the parade? It is ashame our local station did not cover their hometown event.

PARKING!!!

Myself and others patronized downtown Wilmington with our children, spent a lot of money in "downtown Wilmington" only to have to shell out a lot more after our vehicles were towed.

Someone help me understand why parking wasn't free on this day since it's suppose to be a parade. Do we have to have visitors come to "Downtown Wilmington" and spend their hard earned money and then find that their car has been towed.

I for one won't spend anymore in "Downtown Wilmington".

Thanks for letting me vent!!