WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Downtown businesses say they're ready to take advantage of the business created by the thousands of people in town for the North Carolina Azalea Festival.
Front Street will be lined with dozens of vendors throughout the weekend for the Azalea Festival Street Fair.
Paul Brown, owner of Java Dog Coffee Shop, thinks the vendors are a plus and hope the fair drives more foot traffic to his business.
"A lot of it depends on what merchants they put out in front of us, but generally it is a plus for us," said Brown. "It draws people down the street, and they say oh lets go in and have a coffee something to cool off. It actually works well for us to have the vendors out on Front Street."
Many of the businesses look ahead to Azalea Festival each year, including Pender's Cafe.
Maxine Pender, owner of the cafe, said the Azalea Festival is a great representation of what Wilmington and downtown has to offer.
"They have been doing the Azalea Festival ever since I was born," she said. "I probably have never missed one. I don't get out in the streets like I used to, but when I was small we would get a blanket and get out and have a picnic. You could see years ago people would get up in the windows on Front Street and just yell out and wave. It was beautiful and still is beautiful. They do a wonderful job."
Pender also said the festival is a great way to introduce outsiders to the city and keep them coming back year after year.
"People come from everywhere," she said. "I mean, we have people that come during the Azalea Festival that come back on vacation. They would always say, well we come back to this little place. I have quite a few of those."
The street fair starts on Friday at 6:00 p.m..
For a full list of events click here.