Hundreds gather to see Queen Azalea make her first formal appearance


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Azalea Festival only lasts a few days each year, but in Wilmington, the other 361 days sometimes feel like they revolve around it!

Hundreds gathered at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater to greet the 2019 Azalea Queen, Briana Venskus Wednesday afternoon.

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A Wilmington native and actress, including roles in “The Walking Dead” and “Supergirl,” Queen Briana has some special plans for her reign.

“My vision as the new queen is to kind of represent maybe that underside of Wilmington,” Venskus said. “I want to show that we have some artsy cool hip, sort of different people, and that can also be pageantry if it needs to be.”

The queen definitely stole the show at her coronation, but she is not the only one in the spotlight throughout the festival.

For example, Azalea Belles like Grace Tippett.

“As an Azalea Belle I get to go stand in gardens and hang out and be a role model for people in the community and wear this pretty dress!” Grace said.

The Azalea Festival may seem like a girls club based on the queen and the belles, but boys have plenty of influence as well, such as the cadets on the queen’s court like Isaiah Parker.

“I’m excited, because we have a lot of cool events planned for the week,” Parker said. We get to hang out with these amazing women, and we get to see what the Azalea Festival is all about.”

The queen is excited to make her mark on her hometown, and be a role model to all the young women who look up to her, even though she never saw this coming.

WWAY asked her if she expected this when she was younger, and her response was priceless. “Oh no! Never, never, never!” Venskus said.