Azalea Festival announces 2017 Queen Azalea and special guests


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 2017 North Carolina Azalea Festival now has its Queen Azalea.

Late this afternoon, the festival announced 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev will reign over this year’s festival.

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According to a news release, Kazantsev has contributed writing pieces to the Huffington Post, USA Today, and has appeared on HuffPost Live, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Live with Kelly and Michael, Jimmy Kimmel, Access Hollywood, Extra, Inside Edition, and countless news outlets throughout the US and Canada. She has been a presenter at numerous award shows including the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music, American Country Countdown, and the Billboard Music Awards.

During her year as Miss America, Kira served as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, advocated on behalf of her personal platform: Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence, and was the first Miss America since 1971 to visit troops overseas with the USO.

Joining Kira is Miss North Carolina, McKenzie Faggart.  McKenzie will be a returning Festival guest this year. In 2016 McKenzie was a member of the Azalea Festival Queen’s Court.

Attending as special guests are Lieutenant General Robert Ruark, Chaplain Major General Dondi Costin, Style and Beauty expert Emily Loftiss, ‘Fierce 5’ gymnast Jordyn Wieber, Disney actress Paris Berelc and Azalea Festival Official Artist Sean Ruttkay,