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The Azalea Festival Parade

READ MORE: The Azalea Festival Parade
Hundreds of people were in Downtown Wilmington Saturday morning enjoying the Azalea Festival Parade. People came from across the country to see what the Azalea Parade was all about. A couple from Michigan came to Wilmington to check out the festival and say they love the southern flavor, but many of the kids loved the clowns. Azalea Parade clown Willy said, "This makes my 44th year since 1964 and the crowd gets bigger ,everybody gets happy." District Attorney Ben David also took the time to relax and take in all the music and entertainment. He said, "This is the best part of the job right here. It's a good way to relax and just enjoy the best part of the community which we do every year." Besides clowns, crowns and floats people also had a chance to see some of their favorite celebrities like Lee Norris from "One Tree Hill" and Kevin Frazier from "Entertainment Tonight" who dressed to impress for the occasion. The big finale of the parade was the float with the Azalea Festival Queen, Barbara Woods and her court. Woods said, "It's unbelievable -- tears, tears cue the tears, right? No it's really amazing, I really want to find any reason to stay here in Wilmington and raise my kids here."

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Marching Bands

Who won in the Marching Bands at the Azelea Festival?

The Marching Bands

I am in the AHS Screaming Eagle Regement, and I am a freshman. This is the first, worst and last Azalea Festival ever. The whole combined band thing is horrible. The uniform were horrific too. Also the time we had to wait to actually start marching felt like it took an eternity.

festival azalea

sorry about your free water mishap but thats the way it goes ,i remember last year they let black kids hand the water out on the same float salvation army and vice versa they handed it to all black people ,im not just saying this either it really happened i was pissed off too so i can see where your coming from .the parade was kinda slack compared to previous years ,there were mainly vendors selling things and alot of them ,very few vendors with free stuff as usual it was kinda a dissapointment ,and few educational exibits as usual i think cole bros took the cake for the parade though with that lil doggie riding a minituare horse and those elephants , i enjoy the educational exhibits the most .


Are we so short on bottled water that we can't do anything but complain about it? If they needed some that bad, why don't their parents BUY some for them! Or better yet, walk up to a house that has an outside water facet? I don't think they would arrest your 4 year old for getting some water! What is it with the free hand outs?

Salvation Army

I was very disappointed with the members on the Salvation Army float. There were 2 middle school aged children handing out water bottles and 3 separate times I observed black people (children) reach for these water bottles and these young boys looked them in their faces and handed them to white people. I have spoken to six (6) other people that witnessed the same issue. Not to pull the race card, but I wonder why these black people were ignored? People can make excuses and try and defend this matter, but until you've walked in the shoes of a black person that has had to face racism and predjudice don't open your mouth!

No racism there

if you happened to look closer you would have seen the same kids getting water bottles before. Several in fact. It grows old after awhile when the kids just kept trying to see what they could get. If they were honest kids they would not have been doing that.

water bottles?

Perhaps if they were not "reaching" for the bottles but instead were behaving with a bit of decorum and taking items AFTER they were offered, then this situation would not have occurred.

no return message

I am a new business in the area and had contacted the azalea festivle about having a float in the parade and providing entertainment in the kids section and I was never contacted back, so I assumed they were just booked up and didn't need anymore participants...

Lack of participants at parade

I have been a Wilmington resident for nearly 23 years and I can truly say that this years azalea festival was on of the worst azalea festivals I have ever been to. There was a tremendous lack of participants in this years parade, plus during my time spent at the street fair and fire works the crowd seemed significantly smaller than any of the previous years. There wasn't nearly enough events that favored all cultures of people that makes up the city of Wilmington. Concerts were cancelled and other events showed a large lack of participation. This shows sign of poor planning the commitee should regroup themselves and work on next years festival by making it the attractive festival that once drew people from across the world to Wilmington. Show what Wilmington is really made of (totally)

I was disappointed as well

I was disappointed as well with the parade. The Queen's float had scraggly looking azaleas on it - not even in bloom. The quantity & quality of entries was way down this year - may be because the Azeala Festival Committee got greedy and jacked up the prices for entries.

Pitiful Parade

I am completely disappointed in the parade this year. It was if no planning went into this thing, at all. I have been coming to the parades since I was a child and have enjoyed most and actually enjoy seeing the celebrities that we have always been able to get. I realize this year it was tough with the strike coming to an end and all the multi-millionaires really needing to get back to work to be able to pay the insuance on the 5 houses and 15 cars and whatever other extravagant luxury they have. I sit on 2nd Street every year, with smaller crowds and closer to the parade, it has always been the place to be. However, this year, it was as if the performers didn't concern themselves with the crowd on 2nd Street. There was no enthusiasm and most of the actual performances didn't happen. Oh, I know they happen and they happen for the "so-called" VIPs in the viewing stand in front of City Hall. They really need to get off their high horse and stop feeling like the parade is just for them and allow all people to enjoy it. When interviews are conducted during the parade and they all have to stop so the Sheriff's grandma, or whatever, can see something, this creates a gap of 3-5 blocks in the parade and kills any enthusiasm or momentum the parade has and then the bands, actors, etc. don't perform for the rest of the crowd. I got news for you folks, there are thousands of citizens of Wilmington and New Hanover County that want to see everything, too. And, when does one of the invited celebrities feel it is ok to either not show up, or get out of his car before the parade is up? I am talking about Chad Michael Murray who was not in his car at all on 2nd Street. I could not care less about seeing him and would not know him if he walked in my house, but I know there were fans of his there and that is disappointing to the kids and teeny-boppers who actually watch One Tree Hill. Come on Azalea Committee, understand the parade is not about impressing the "so-called and self-assessed" VIP's and about the community as a whole.


im a former member of john t hoggard marchin vinkin band and i was very upset with the way the local bands were placed together in the parade the biggest thing in our band was to try to be better than hanover or laney and now that theres ashley that should make it even better but to put them together takes the fun out of the whole thing in my opion


Hummm, first of all it is John T Hoggard marching band, not lower case letters and misspelled words. As for beating Hanover and Laney, not in the nice department for Hoggard this past year. I didn't hear anything on them this past year, as we have about some of the students coming out of there. You need to be concerned about your life now and your spelling rather than be upset about bands.

Parade... Bands

Fact: Several of the bands' members were away on Spring Break and the bands would suffer by being SKIMPY.... Imagine a band with two trumpets or one drummer. The band directors agreed to have a combined band. Of course some of the students did not like the idea, but it eventually made sense... they turned out @ 200 strong Band Family, and showed unity among our youth and schools....and an awesome collaboration. And... Kudos to the band directors and the fabulous Drum Major. Stay tuned, next year will probably be the same if the Azalea Parade is the same as Spring Break for our local schools.


The facts are right from Band Mom. It will probably be that way for next 4-5 years because spring break & festival are the same time. I think they sounded great. A couple of suggestions: 1. Instead of having each member in seperate uniforms, the festival committe should provide festival shirts for the kids to wear. This also saves the schools money on an additional uniform cleaning 2. This group should always escort the queens float!!! 3. The band drum majoprs should walk together in front of all bands in their Drum Major Uniforms. I was dissappointed in overall organization in the parade, too much time and space between floats. Some floats were shoddy in appearance and design. This shows poor supervision/organization on the committees part The arts/Crafts/food was a little disappointing due to the way everything was spread out. (those hills get steep after going up and down them several times)

I have lived in Wilmington

I have lived in Wilmington all my life and I have to say I was really disappointed in this years parade. Some of the units we have all come to love were not present and there just didn't seem to be the enthuiasim of previous years.

Missing Participants in Parade

While I will not reveal my source, the Budwieser Clydesdales/Wagon were not apart of this years parade again this becuase last year they arrived to participate but could not find parking to unload or hitch their horses! The poor planning with the parade comm. began last year. There is an incredible amount of time, energy, and cost associated with their hitch partcipating in an event such as the Azelea Fest. And it was an insult to put forth such effort and find no one gave them an area to assemble and when they tried to find temporary parking by businesses they were run off!! It is truely a shame that they left last year with such a bad taste for our community, and most likely will not be back!

Budwieser Clydesdales

Budwieser never promised the Clydesdales would be available to attend the Azalea Festival annually. We were extremely fortunate to have them accept our invitation 3 years in a row. I know for a fact that the Clydesdales left the parade route last year because of a complaint from a local shop merchant. I was told this personally by the Jackson Beverage manager in charge of securing them for the parade. Taking this action may have prevented a complaint to the home office.