April 3-7, 2024



Happy Fourth, Princess Lilly!

This year I spent the Fourth of July a little differently: I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Southport and participating in their Fourth of July Parade! I had actually never been to Southport before this, and I loved everything about it! I would like to give a HUGE thank you to this year’s Azalea Festival President, Jean Lawler, for driving me in the parade in her OWN car, an adorable Punch Bug convertible with her granddaughter, Taylor. I am so grateful for you and your family taking time out of your special holiday to go with me.



While I was waiting for the parade to start, I spent time in the parade headquarters. There, I ran into Miss North Carolina and Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen. We had the opportunity to meet and take pictures together with parade officials and war veterans.


I was then taken to another building where there was breakfast – thank goodness! I was able to introduce myself to North Carolina’s Secretary of State, Elaine F. Marshall, and the past Miss Fourth of July Pageant Director.  There has not been a Miss Fourth of July of Southport since 1991. The crown was on display, and it had been passed down every year to the new winner. It has red, white, and blue stones, and was truly one of the most beautiful crowns I had ever seen! To the people of Southport, I highly recommend you bring back the Miss Fourth of July Pageant because that beautiful crown should be worn for all to see in honor of your wonderful festival.


On the way to my car in the parade lineup, I saw a very familiar face…It was Pat McCrory, the Governor! He recognized me and asked for a picture with my mom and I. It was terrific getting to see him again!


The parade itself was absolutely spectacular! It was extremely hot out, but that did not stop anyone from coming to the parade. There were a lot of people, and they all were so active. They would call out to me “Hi, Princess Lilly!” or “Happy Fourth, Princess Lilly!”. The little girls and little boys were so excited when I waved back and said hello to them! It was truly an experience I will never forget. I loved the energy and event so much; I definitely plan on going back in future years!

I am so blessed to live in a country like America, and I am so thankful EVERY DAY for all the men and women fighting for our freedom.

Lilly Kays
2016 Azalea Festival Princess

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