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Downtown businesses prepare for 67th Annual Azalea Festival

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Azalea Festival kicks off Thursday with the Queen’s Coronation.

Downtown businesses say they are looking forward to this year’s events, because for them it means an increase in business.

"We will be completely staffed up. Azalea Festival is one of those events that we look forward too every year,” said Andrew Flynn, Hell’s Kitchen Manager.

Hell's Kitchen is just one of the many restaurants downtown banking on large crowds this weekend.

General Manager Andrew Flynn says they have added extra staff to help with the influx of people.

“It is probably one of the busiest weekends of the year for us,” Flynn said. “I think this year is going to be particularly different for us because Widespread Panic is playing both Friday and Saturday night."

Flynn says some restaurant owners don’t do as well during the annual festival because there are so many food vendors downtown.

That is not the case for Nick's Diner.

"I expect just tons and tons of people. Everybody will just be like stopping by and checking us out," said Hannah Labate, Nick’s Diner Manager.

Both Labate and Flynn say this is one of their busiest weekends of the year for them. He says most employees love to work, because they know their hard work will pay off.

"We're all hands on deck,” said Flynn. “Everybody works throughout the day and everybody works a little bit of a longer shift than they typically would work. It's a long day, but its well worth it in the end."

Hell's Kitchen will have live music each night after the concerts.

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