North Carolina Azalea Festival announces 2021 Queen

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Victoria Huggins is Queen Azalea for the 74th annual NC Azalea Festival (Photo: NC Azalea Festival)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Azalea Festival announced the 74th Queen Azalea, the Azalea Festival Princess, and Invited Guests of the 2021 Azalea Festival on Monday.

The NC Azalea Festival announced Victoria Huggins is humbled and thrilled to return to her second home of Wilmington to serve as the 74th Queen Azalea.

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Huggins returns as a former member of the Queen’s Court as Miss Wilmington 2016, Miss North Carolina 2017, and former emcee of both the Azalea Children’s Tea and Azalea Festival Princess Scholarship Pageant. As the first former Miss North Carolina to be chosen as Queen Azalea, she counts this opportunity as one of the greatest honors of her lifetime. Huggins represented the Tar Heel State in 2017 as the 80th Miss North Carolina.

Now a resident of Vass, NC, Victoria joined the Houston Astros organization in January of 2019. As the Community and Media Relations Manager of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Class A Minor League Baseball Team), Victoria manages community presence and partnerships, serves as the founder and director of the team charity, and coordinates media requests. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Miss North Carolina Organization, Fayetteville Urban Ministries, and is a member of the prestigious MLB Women in Baseball LIFT Mentorship Program.

Extending her Princess reign from 2020 is Brooke McIntyre, a senior from Coastal Christian High School. Brooke is the daughter of Daniel and Theresa McIntyre.

Rachard McIntyre is the 2021 Festival Artist. According to a press release, for Rachard McIntyre, art is the most fulfilling part of his life. Since preschool, he has been drawing pictures of images which impressed him upon seeing them.  As a toddler, growing up in Brooklyn, he drew the Manhattan Skyline of New York City.  He developed a greater love for art by learning more about style and techniques in school art classes while also excelling in math and English.

This year’s invited guest is Alex Highsmith. Highsmith was born in Wilmington on August 7, 1997. Alex was educated in the New Hanover County School system, graduating from Eugene Ashley High School in 2015. He excelled athletically at Ashley, playing football and baseball for four years and basketball during his senior year.

Festival President Deirdre McGlone-Webb said while it will be a different experience, she is honored to serve as President and to be celebrating the 74th North Carolina Azalea Festival in smaller, more intimate and socially distanced venues this April.