Azalea Festival organizers aim for year-long celebration in 2021

Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 10:57 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Azalea Festival is hoping to do things a little differently this year. Organizers say the traditional springtime event will be celebrated throughout most of 2021.

“The Azalea Festival has an over $50 million economic impact annually,” said Alison English, the festival’s executive director. “We know those large events are the biggest drivers of those, so it’s our hope that by pushing those later in the year, we’ll still be able to have those events and the community will benefit from that. That economic stimulus gets put back into our restaurants, our businesses and our hotels that we all need so much, especially during this time.”

Last year, the 73rd annual Azalea Festival was called off in March due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year, organizers say they plan to have a full lineup of events and programming in April, with the street fair and the Main Stage musical acts scheduled for later this summer.

A new “Pin Pals” program will also debut this year as a way of stimulating the local economy, organizers say.

“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,” according to a news release.

This year’s musical acts — The Avett Brothers; and Sublime with Rome and Michael Franti & Spearhead — will be held at the city’s new musical venue, the North Waterfront Park. For more information on tickets, click here.

A complete lineup is below:

  • March 1 - April 7: BOLO for Blooms, a Virtual Watch Party
  • March 22: Art Unveiling
  • April 3: Azalea Sweep
  • April 5 - April 11: Azaleas on Tour, a Porch Parade
  • April 7 - April 11: The Azalea Queen’s coronation
  • April 9: Celebrity reception, the drive-by edition
  • April 9: The Secret Garden party, BYOY (Bring Your Own Yard)
  • July 30: Airlie Luncheon Garden Party
  • July 31: Paws on Parade, the official dog garden paw-ty
  • Aug. 19: Sublime with Rome | Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Aug. 20: The Avett Brothers
  • Aug. 20 - Aug. 22: The DGX Street Fair
  • Aug. 20 - Aug. 22: The Wilmington Grill Music and Beer Garden
  • Aug. 21: The Dollar General Parade
  • Aug. 21 - Aug. 22: The Multicultural Stage
  • Aug. 21: The Avett Brothers
  • Aug. 28: Patrons’ Party

To be determined events: Chefs’ Showcase.

Canceled events: The scholarship pageant, boxing competition, and Riverwalk shaggin’ contest.

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