WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - By a vote of 117-0, the state House on Wednesday approved a bill to name the North Carolina Azalea Festival the official azalea festival of the State of North Carolina.
House Bill 51, filed by Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover), notes many positive features of the festival that takes place every spring in the City of Wilmington, including the economic impact of more than $50 million on the local economy, its’ selection as a Southeast Tourism Society’s Top-20 Event in April, and awards presented by the International Festivals and Events Association. The bill now moves over to the state Senate for approval. The same proposal passed the state House of Representatives during the 2018 short session of the General Assembly, but never received a vote in the Senate.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival began in 1948 when, according to the festival’s website, Doctor Houston Moore crafted the idea of having a festival every spring when the flowers “burst into bloom.” It has been a staple of the Port City ever since.
A web search found one other festival held in North Carolina to celebrate azaleas. According to The Azalean, which is the journal of the Azalea Society of America, the first Graham County Native Azalea Festival took place in Robbinsville on June 15-16, 2018.