Rain can’t dampen spirits as annual Azalea Garden Tour gets started


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Not even steady rain could stop the Azalea Garden Tour’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the Smits garden.

Gov. Roy Cooper joined Queen Azalea Briana Venskus for the honors, WWAY’s Jeff Rivenbark served as Master of Ceremonies.

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“Today has been a little bit soggy but it looks like everyone is enjoying themselves,” Kay Fare, a member of the ribbon cutting hospitality committee said. “Luckily it’s not cold, so we’re having fun!”

These annual tours are sacred, and to kick them off, attendees were treated with cookies and punch courtesy of the Cape Fear Garden Club. Several thousand cookies were served.

Some of those who attended are seasoned Azalea Festival and garden tour veterans, and find this to be a very sentimental experience.

“I’ve been in the garden club for 30 years and I’ve been the ticket chairman for 19 years,” Betty Hill said. “I love to garden and my home has been on the tour twice, myself.”

Whereas others are a little bit newer to it.

“This is only my second,” Lexis Henderson, a Carolina Princess said. “We go around with our queen and we do really fun stuff.”

With the ribbon cut, the tours begin, leading to a long weekend of Azalea Festival fun.