Azalea Queen glows at parade

Pink hats, southern belles, and marching band music lined Third Street in Wilmington.

It's not your typical combination. Then again, the Azalea Festival is not your typical party.

The parade has corvettes with beauty queens, beacons in local business, and the brave men and women in uniform. All of them were clearing the way for the main attraction -- Queen Dari Alexander. She's a big time anchor at the Fox News Network in New York. Waving to fans during the parade, she was glowing.

Many came from out-of-state for the party.

"My mom lives here and I always loved the parade," said Chantelle Carter, of Atlanta, Georgia. "I just like going down and eating the food."

Friday night, the festival brought in one of its biggest headliners ever -- pop-star Jessica Simpson, who played a packed house at UNC-Wilmington.

She was, essentially, the opening act for the parade

The gutsiest parade performance goes to News Six's Kim Fields. She actually leaped onto a trolley float for her live interview.

"Are you going to charge me for this ride?" she asked the conductor.

Organizers call this one of the biggest, and busiest, parades in festival history.

"We could not have asked for a better day," Azalea Festival President Lisa Ballantine said. "The parade and the weather were perfect."

For the weather you can thank meteorologists George Elliott and Chris Marshall, who also rode atop the WECT float. It's all part of a week-long party -- a blend of beauty, history and... fun.