North Carolina Azalea Festival

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April 14, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

The 71st North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, April 14, 2018 – we hope to see you there!

2017 Parade Highlights

The 70th annual North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade was held from 9:30 am to 11:30 am on Saturday, April 8th.  The route traveled north from Market and 3rd Streets straight up 3rd Street and ended at Bladen Street.  The Parade set a new record with four giant character balloons; two helium (Cookie Monster Sponsored by the Wilmington Convention Center, Ward and Smith, P.A., LM Restaurants, New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Hawthorne Residential Partners, and a giant Piñata sponsored by the North Carolina Azalea Festival in honor of the Festival’s Multicultural sector) and two cold air balloons (Baby Smurf sponsored by True Panda and Elmo Sponsored by Collins and Collins Law Offices, PLLC).

The Parade was led by the Marine Corps Band and also showcased several high school bands from across the state.  Other special Parade entries included the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Sudan Shriners Groups, Special guests Peppa Pig from Nick Jr. and Sid the Science Kid from PBS as well as the North Carolina Azalea Festival’s Children’s Art and Writing Contest Winners, Scholarship Pageant Princess Miss Emma Grace Wright, and Queen Azalea Kira Kazantsev and her Court.  Also included this year were the Festival’s Multicultural March of Nations and numerous sponsor floats featuring various groups such as the Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles®, UNC- Wilmington, Caroline Dare and Band, Cape Fear Children’s Museum, the Big Buddy Program and more.  Additionally, this year we honored the 70th Anniversary with a special tribute float adorned with past Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant Princesses from each decade beginning with the 1950’s.

Pre-Parade entertainment consisted of a Parade Mile along the Parade route (starting and ending in front of the Reviewing Stand at City Hall) at approximately 9:00 am.  The Parade itself kicked off at 9:30 am with the National Anthem, a flyover by the Bandit Flight Team Presented by Wilmington International Airport (ILM), and a ribbon cutting at the corner of Market and 3rd Street prior to Parade step off.

General Parade Information

  • Viewing:  Main viewing areas were all along 3rd Street, from Market Street to Bladen Street.  Viewing along the route is always free, though reserved Festival bleacher tickets were available for purchase at the North Carolina Azalea Festival Ticket Office for $5-8 in advance, $7-10 day of.
  • Parking:  Available in all public parking decks downtown; access to the decks is via Chestnut Street only, and only until 8:15 am.  ADA parking is on the corner of Chestnut and 3rd Street, and is accessible via Chestnut Street until 8:15 am.

We are looking forward to next year’s Parade on April 14, 2018.  Please check out the 2017 Parade photo gallery here!

2018 Parade Participation

If you would like to participate in the 2018 Parade our online Registration will open on October 1st 2017.

2018 Parade Volunteer Opportunities

Please sign up through our online registration for volunteering opportunities with the Parade!

Sign Up To Volunteer Here



April 14, 2018
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
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S 3rd St
S 3rd St
Wilmington, NC 28401 United States
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