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62nd Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival: April 1-5, 2009

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The 62nd Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival will be held April 1-5, 2009 in the greater Wilmington area. The Festival is a celebration of Wilmington’s exceptional artwork, gardens, rich history and culture during its five days of entertainment that includes: a parade, street fair, circus, concerts, pageantry, and all that is Southern. Since its inception in 1948, the Festival has blossomed into an extended weekend celebration that attracts more than 300,000 people. The Festival is a non-profit civic organization and this year is sponsored in substantial part by its four (4) major sponsors: Progress Energy, My Rewards, Wachovia Bank, and the Hilton Wilmington Riverside. For more than 50 years, the folks of Southeastern North Carolina have been throwing the best party in the South and you're invited! There's something for everyone among our community's rich array of artwork, gardens, history and culture. Come join us!

Azalea Festival Home Tour
Tickets are $25 and will be available at all local Harris Teeter stores and other area outlets, as well as the Azalea Festival Office located at 5725 Oleander Drive, the Historic Wilmington Foundation, 516 North 4th Street, and at each home site the days of the tour. Members of the Foundation will receive discounted tickets at $15 available at Historic Wilmington Foundation. Groups of ten or more can purchase discounted tickets at a cost of $22. You can also order tickets through the Historic Wilmington Foundation website at a discounted rate of $22.

56th Annual Azalea Garden Tour
Enjoy Southern hospitality amid the glorious color of azaleas during the 56th Annual Azalea Garden Tour, April 3, 4 and 5, 2009 in the beautiful coastal region of Wilmington, North Carolina. Sponsored by Cape Fear Garden Club, Inc., this year’s tour “Something Old, Something New” explores old, established gardens, as well as new areas on tour for the first time. Featured in SOUTHNERN LIVING, the tour is one of the longest running and most popular garden tours in the South. According to Tour Chairman Brenda Moore, the twelve private gardens chosen for this year’s tour “showcase an interesting variety of gardens including elegant formal designs, whimsical cottage gardens, and a coastal landscape with views of the Intracoastal Waterway.” Azalea Belles welcome visitors in each of the gardens during the tour.
The Azalea Garden Tour opens Friday, April 3 with the colorful Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the home of Rick and Myrna Willetts. Located in the historic Forest Hills area, the 1939 antebellum style home was built by the current owner’s grandfather. Many of the original plantings grace this grand garden including azaleas, maples and camellias. Queen Azalea LXII and her court preside over the ceremony. Summerall Guards, the Citadel’s elite senior drill team, escort over 100 beautiful Azalea Belles dressed in authentic antebellum gowns. Local and national celebrities are also present to celebrate the event. Following the ceremony, members of the Cape Fear Garden Club serve refreshments and hundreds of homemade cookies. Musical entertainment and media coverage complete this exciting event.
The remaining eleven gardens offer a beautiful selection of diverse designs. Visitors will enjoy an array of spring plantings, shrubbery and trees accented by unique hardscapes, wall art and statuary. Older gardens highlighted by the vibrant colors of mature azaleas include walled courtyards, antique fountains and garden rooms. The unique cottage gardens reflect the owners’ talents in creating dining and living spaces with whimsical detail. Recycled items, such as an old claw-footed tub and wagon wheels, find new life by adding interest and function to the landscape. Water features including a magnificent 2000 gallon koi pond provide a tranquil spot for relaxing. Whether it is the moss covered oaks, boxwood framed beds or vegetables and herbs, the tour promises to delight all gardening enthusiasts.
Presale tickets are available beginning January 27 for the discounted price of $15 through the Cape Fear Garden Club’s web site at www.azaleagardentour.org and the NC Azalea Festival Office, Oleander Drive. After March 1, tickets are $20 and good for all three days. Tickets are also available Belk, Sterling House, The Fisherman’s Wife, and local garden centers. Group discounts and guided tours are available. Children 12 and under are admitted free except for the Ribbon Cutting where a $1 is charged per child. The ticket includes a map for a self-guided tour with descriptions of each garden. Gardens are open 10:00am to 6pm daily. As an added bonus, tickets include free admission to the exquisite Airlie Gardens on the Saturday, April 4.
Over the past 56 years, Azalea Garden Tour profits have funded thousand of dollars of beautification and horticulture grants in New Hanover County. In 2008, Cape Fear Garden Club awarded over $90,000. Funds also support scholarships at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College and finance conservation efforts at Battery Island, a National Audubon Society bird sanctuary.
The 56th Annual Azalea Garden Tour, April 3-5, 2009, is an official event of the North Carolina Azalea Festival. For additional information visit www.azaleagardentour.org or call (910)200-3134.

Azalea Festival Office Location
5725 Oleander Drive
Wilmington, N.C. 28403

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3275
Wilmington, N.C. 28406

Phone
910.794.4650

Fax
910.794.4651

E-mail
info@ncazaleafestival.org

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