queen300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 4:56pm.

The Azalea Festival is now officially underway. Today, the city welcomed the first ever Indian American Azalea Festival Queen. "I’m looking forward to everything, the people, the events, the celebration,” said Amrapali Ambegaokar, the 2009 Azalea Festival Queen. There was song and dance as Wilmingtonians welcomed Queen Amrapali Ambegaokar. Amrapali is an actress and dancer, best known for her various roles on film and television. She has guest starred on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal and ER. Walker Taylor has been around for 50 Azalea Festivals. The former Festival president had the honor of crowning the queen. The highlight of the day had to be the traditional dance performance by an Indian cultural group. This particularly touched Queen Ambegaokar, because she is the first ever Indian American Azalea Queen. "We are all first generation, second generation Indians, so believe it or not, we all know everyone by a few degrees of separation, whether it's the language or the culture, or whether they went to school with my mom, father, whatever. It's truly heartwarming, and I’m just overjoyed." The ceremony was initially planned to take place outside on the river, but because the rain forced the event indoors, the performances were even more intimate and full of life.

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