Azalea Festival announces events will happen all year long

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Azalea Festival has announced it will be celebrating spring during festival dates of April 7-11 and continuing throughout the year.

“With the pandemic and restrictions still in place with our state, we are having to move some of our larger events to later in the year,” executive director Alison English said.

Despite the challenges, English says they were determined to hold the festival this year in order to maintain the benefits it provides the area.

“The North Carolina Azalea festival has over a 50 million dollar economic impact on our community, and that’s very important to us,” English said. “So we wanna make sure to have those large events anytime that we can so we can keep that economic stimulus going.”

English says she’s optimistic that if all goes well this time, they should be able to hold a normal festival next year.

“2022 is the Azalea Festival’s 75th anniversary,” English noted. “So that already is a big year for us. We’re just hoping that it’s going to be an even bigger and better year, hopefully being the first year that we can have everything.”

Even with the changes to the festival this year, English expects it will still be a fun time for everyone.

“We still want the community to celebrate spring and to be a part, and really just show what this community is so great,” English said. “We just have such giving citizens. Wonderful people who like to be supportive and love where we live. We’re just excited for people to showcase that, festival week in April.”

In a news release on Monday, the festival says there will be a full lineup of festival week events and programming for this April. However, events like the concerts, garden party, and street fair won’t take place until later this summer.

Queen Azalea #74 will be coming to town to celebrate with guests in smaller, more intimate, socially-distance appropriate gatherings.

The festival also announced its new Pin Pals commemorative pin collecting program as one of its efforts to stimulate the local economy. Guests can purchase a 2021 commemorative pin for $10 and receive discounts from local businesses the entire month of April. Guests can also register their pin for a chance to win one of three Grand Prizes valued at over $1,500 each. Business registration in this program is free. As part of the work of the new Azalea Festival Diversity and Inclusion Committee, this business registration application is now also available in Spanish.

The festival has rescheduled its larger events for later in the year. The DGX Street Fair, the Dollar General Parade, and all main stage shows in August.

On Thursday, August 19, Sublime with Rome | Michael Franti & Spearhead concert will play from a new location – North Waterfront Park. Avett Brothers fans will be pleased to now have two shows to choose from – Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21, also at the new location.

Existing paid ticket holders for the Avett Brothers will be given two weeks to select which Avett show they would like to attend. Selection will be based on a first-come, first-served priority. The new venue has a smaller capacity; once a show nears maximum capacity all ticket exchanges for that show will be halted, and ticket holders will automatically be moved to the other show, or given a refund if requested. All festival sponsors will be given Thursday night Sublime with Rome | Michael Franti & Spearhead and Friday night tickets to the Avett Brothers show as part of their packages.

Additionally, the new venue allows for different upgrade options, including hospitality seating and an orchestra pit. Existing paid ticket holders will be given first priority for these new seating options, during this same two-week exchange period.

A link is provided below for paid ticket holders to request their Avett Brothers show date or to request an upgraded experience. Sublime with Rome | Michael Franti & Spearhead paid ticket holders do not need to do anything to have their tickets moved to the August date, unless they would like to purchase an upgraded experience.

All new ticket sales for the main stage shows will be suspended until Saturday, February 27 at 10 am, while the festival gives time for existing ticket purchasers to make their selections.

Here is a complete line-up of festival events:

BOLO for Blooms, a Virtual Watch Party: March 1 – April 7
Art Unveiling: Monday, March 22
Azalea Sweep: Saturday, April 3
Azaleas on Tour, a Porch Parade: Monday, April 5 – Sunday, April 11
Queen’s Coronation…A Journey of 74 Socially-Distant Waves for our 74th: Wednesday, April 7 – Sunday, April 11; Presented by BB&T, Now Truist
Celebrity Reception, the Drive-By Edition: Friday, April 9
The Secret Garden Party, BYOY (Bring Your Own Yard): Friday, April 9
Airlie Luncheon Garden Party: Friday, July 30
Paws on Parade; the Official Dog Garden Paw-ty, Saturday, July 31
Sublime with Rome | Michael Franti & Spearhead: Thursday, August 19
The Avett Brothers: Friday, August 20
The DGX Street Fair: Friday, August 20 – Sunday, August 22
The Wilmington Grill Music and Beer Garden: Friday, August 20 – Sunday, August 22
The Dollar General Parade: Saturday, August 21
The Multicultural Stage: Saturday, August 21 – Sunday, August 22
The Avett Brothers: Saturday, August 21
Patrons’ Party: Saturday, August 28

To Be Determined Events:
Chefs’ Showcase

Canceled Events:
Scholarship Pageant: This event has been canceled for 2021, with the existing 2020 Azalea Festival Princess and Court reigning over the 2021 Festival events. A larger pageant, inclusive of both juniors and seniors, is planned to happen in 2022.
Boxing Competition
Riverwalk Shaggin’ Contest

Exchange/Refund Request Form for paid main stage tickets**
*Open through Monday, February 22. Ticket exchanges and upgrades for the Avett Brothers are on a first-come, first-served basis. Once a show date is full, all remaining ticket holders will automatically be moved to the open show, or given a refund if requested.

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