The North Carolina Azalea Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Here is a quick snapshot of who we are:
- We're locally-grown; in 1948 Wilmington citizens and various community groups came together to create the first Azalea Festival.
- Our mission is to stimulate the economy and promote volunteerism.
- We help create an estimated $51 million dollars annually in economic stimulus.
- We have over 1,000 volunteers who help plan, manage, and orchestrate around 20 Azalea Festival events each year.
- Many big names have joined us at the Azalea Festival: President Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Carried Underwood, Duran Duran, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Ripa, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Jordan...just to name a few!
- We have something for everyone and want you to join us! Whether you like fancy galas or funnel cakes...(or both!)...we are confident you can find something to enjoy about the Azalea Festival. Check out our full listing of events!
The North Carolina Azalea Festival is Wilmington’s annual community celebration and the largest festival of its kind in the state. Founded in 1948, the Azalea Festival has emerged as Wilmington’s premier event.
Each April, a full week of natural beauty, big-name entertainment, festive galas, fun family events and Southern hospitality come together to showcase the charms of the Wilmington area. For community pride and springtime pageantry, the North Carolina Azalea Festival has no equal!
The Festival’s concerts, fairs and special events are viewed by more than one million people each year, in person and through media coverage. More than 200,000 are estimated to attend the annual two-day Street Fair, while more than 100,000 gather to watch the Festival Parade. Each event is a celebration, beginning with the traditional arrival of Queen Azalea at the official opening of the five-day event. Stars glitter throughout town as Southern belles and their escorts promenade through lush gardens at the annual garden party. Everywhere the blooming azaleas offer colorful testimony to the rich heritage of coastal Carolina.
The Festival is a great source of local pride, with the entire community involved in displaying Wilmington to the world in its finest colors. More than 1,000 volunteers are required to stage over 50 events ranging from concerts to art shows, a street fair with interactive displays, home and garden tours, a parade, special exhibits, a circus and a variety of other entertainment and events.
The Southeast Tourism Society often selects the North Carolina Azalea Festival as one of its Top 20 Events. For fifteen years, the Southeast Tourism Society, a non-profit organization, has published its Top 20 Events list. Over 400 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, AAA affiliates and other travel organizations receive the listing.
Staging the Azalea Festival – every year for more than fifty years – is a real community effort, and everyone who works on, participates in or simply enjoys the Festival can be proud of these honors. They are a positive reflection on the greater Wilmington area as well.
At the North Carolina Azalea Festival, you’ll find something for the entire family. Come join us!
2019- Encore Reader's Choice Award- Best Festival
Top 20 Event in April - Southeast Tourism Society
2017- Governor's Medallion for Volunteer Service
2017 - New Hanover County Award for Volunteer Service
International Festival and Events Awards:
2019- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best Sponsor Partner - Lowes Foods
2019- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best Sponsorship Program for Individual Sponsor - CPI Security "Crown Captains"
2019- Gold Pinnacle Award Best - Parade
2019- Gold Pinnacle Award - Best Event/Program within an Event to Benefit a Cause - Paws on Parade
2019- Silver Pinnacle Award - Best Individual Sponsor Follow-up Report
2019- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best Children's Programming
2019- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best New Merchandise - Pocket Squares that benefits our Future Festival Fund
2018- Volunteer of the Year ( Jean A. Lawler)
2018- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best Sponsorship Program for Individual Sponsor #SpreadingFestivalSmiles - Renaissance Dental
2018- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best New Event - Chefs' Showcase
2016 - Bronze Pinnacle Award - Best Single New Sponsorship Opportunity- Parade Coffee Bar sponsored by The United Way
2016- Bronze Pinnacle Award - Best Children's Programming
2016- Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Targeted Sponsor Solicitation - LM Restaurants
2016- Silver Pinnacle Award - Best New Attendee Service- Parade Coffee Bar sponsored by The United Way
2016- Silver Pinnacle Award - Best Press/Media Kit
2015- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best Miscellaneous Multimedia
2015- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best Social Media Site
2015- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best Organizational Website
2015 Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Event/Organization E-Newsletter
2015 Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Event Invitation
2015 Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Money-Making Idea - Cyber Monday
2014- Gold Pinnacle Award - Best Miscellaneous Multimedia
2014- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best Social Media Site
2013- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best New Merchandise - Freaker
2013- Gold Pinnacle Award- Best Social Media Site
2013- Silver Pinnacle Award- Best Miscellaneous Multimedia
2013- Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Event Program
2013- Bronze Pinnacle Award -Best Miscellaneous Printed Materials (single page)
2013- Bronze Pinnacle Award- Best Commemorative Poster