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Azalea Festival crowds good for business

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WILMINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of tourists and residents are expected to take part in this year's Azalea Festival. Big crowds translate to big bucks for local business. It's estimated that 250,000-300,000 locals and residents will take part in this year's Azalea Festival, adding up to millions of dollars for local merchants. A UNCW study looked at April retail sales in Wilmington over a seven-year time span. Business in the city is up two percent in April compared with the typical month. Economists assume one half of that is attributed to the Azalea Festival -- that equals about $2 million. Kevin Kozak at the Front Street Brewery said, "We know our numbers are going to be good and we know our people are going to be packing in this place. You know the parade's down here and everything goes on right here so we know we definitely look forward to it." Even with talk of a recession looming, at the Riverside Hilton. Early indications are that business might event be up over last year. Bookings are up fifteen percent. Many local businesses consider the Azalea Festival weekend the un-official beginning of tourist season.

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Azalea Parade Pitiful!!!!

This was absolutely the worse parade I have been to in 40 years of the festival. One of the "stars" Chad Murray was not even on his car but the car was still there and I guess anyone with the money can get into the parade regardless of the cause or what they represent. I always sit on 2nd street where the crowds are a bit thinner and it's as if the parade is put on only for the so-called "VIPs" in the reviewing stand. There were large gaps because of all the stopping to perform for these people but just silent and quiet when walking the rest of the parade route. The organizers need to think long and hard about who they put in the parade, have a few rules that participants must follow and realize the parade is for everyone in downtown Wilmington, not just for the few that sit up there in front of City Hall, i.e. Sheriff, Police Chief, City Council, County Commissioners, etc. We put those people in their position and already take everything they can from us, and take the parade, too.

One of the many reasons I

One of the many reasons I stopped going to the Azalea Parade over 20 yes ago. It has always been poorly planned/executed. The planners need a refresher course in entertainment; the Parade definitley ins't.

I agree

I agree....Not much planning or participation at all!!!

Oh, they've got a plan

To extract as much money as possible from everyone that comes near or participates in these type events. I stay as far away from downtown as possible during Azalea Festival. Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure Beach sure don't want you there anymore either unless you're unloading lots of money and Law Enforcement sure let you know it.