North Carolina Azalea Festival

2019 Invited Guests

Tamera Young

WNBA Veteran

Tamera Young is an 11-year WNBA veteran and CEO of TY1Gear LLC; graduated from E. A. Laney High School in 2004; inducted into the E. A. Laney Hall of Fame in 2012 where her #11 jersey is retired. Graduated from James Madison University in 2008 majoring in Kinesiology, at that time ranking as the Colonial Athletic Association’s and JMU’s Women’s basketball career scoring leader and no. 2 career rebounder; inducted into the JMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. Tamera is the first female from James Madison University to be drafted to the WNBA; First-round draft pick (#8 pick overall) by Atlanta Dream in 2008; Played nine seasons with Chicago Sky. Currently playing with Las Vegas Aces, (2nd season with Vegas).

Grace Boyles

National Cherry Festival Queen

Grace Boyles is the 2018-2019 National Cherry Festival Queen. She is 21-years-old and was born and raised in Traverse City. She is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is double majoring in Communications Studies and Creative Writing. Upon graduating, she hopes to combine her education and her love of sports to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. She is humbled and blessed to be able to represent her beloved hometown and the cherry industry.

Laura Matrazzo
Miss North Carolina 2018

Laura Matrazzo of Chapel Hill earned the title of Miss North Carolina 2018 on June 23 representing the metropolitan area of Charlotte as Miss Metrolina. Collectively, Laura has earned $31,000 in scholarships from participation in the Miss America Organization and graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science degree in marketing. Laura passionately advocates for financial literacy in North Carolina with her social impact initiative, “Money Talks: Student-Focused Principles of Financial Management” for which she received the Miss America Community Service Award as well as a Wells Fargo Community Impact Scholarship.

Lt. Colonel Allen T. Lamb 
USAF (Retired)
Parade MarshalA native of Lumberton, North Carolina, Lt. Col. Lamb is a highly decorated veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. As a result of his service to his country, he received two Silver Stars for Gallantry, a Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism on the Battlefield, nine air medals, and a Purple Heart. During his career, he was forced to eject supersonic, unstrapped from his seat. He was the seventh pilot to eject supersonic (the only one unstrapped), one of three to survive and the only one at that time to return to flight status. Featured in Secrets of the Arsenal on the History Channel and in Hunter Killers by Dan Hampton, Lt. Col. Lamb is recognized for his role in Wild Weasel I by destroying the first three surface-to-air (SAM) sites in Vietnam and setting the stage for modern day air warfare.Lt. Col. Lamb currently resides in Wilmington and is married to Frances Roper Lamb, a Wilmington native.

Bergen DeLeeuw - 2019 Azalea Festival Artist

Bergen's work reflects a celebration of God’s majesty in all the beauty he has created. Through her art, she brings nature’s small intricacies to the forefront. By layering soft, organic strokes, Bergen seeks to create pieces that invite the viewer to reflect on the simplicities that make life beautiful. Bergen has loved painting for as long as she can remember. Having no formal art training, coming into this vocation has been the result of a lifelong expression. Creating custom work for clients that exemplifies their taste and shares Bergen's heart has been more rewarding than she ever could have imagined. She is thankful to have work displayed in homes and collections across the United States as well as internationally. Bergen paints from her home studio in Hampstead, North Carolina, which she shares with her husband, Andrew, who serves in the Navy and their two-year-old son who adds happy little strokes to all of Bergen's paintings. She loves having his tiny hands in all of her work; it reminds her to not take herself too seriously, stop and enjoy life’s beautiful moments, and remember that nothing great is achieved alone.

Major General James Everette Livingston

MOH, USMC (Retired)

Major General Livingston is the most highly decorated Marine Infantry Officer of the Vietnam War with honors including: the Medal of Honor; Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; Bronze Star Medal, with Combat “V”; Purple Heart, Third Award; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal, Second Award; Navy Commendation Medal, with Combat “V”; Combat Action ribbon, Second Award; and various other service and foreign Decorations. After Major General Livingston’s retirement, he served as a Board Member and Chairman of the National World War II Museum Foundation in New Orleans. He is married to the former Sara Craft, and they have two daughters, Kimberly and Melissa.

Steffanie B. Easter 

Mrs. Steffanie B. Easter assumed responsibilities as the Director, Navy Staff in June 2018. In her role as Director, she serves as the senior Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) civilian and coordinates enterprise level efforts across the entire OPNAV staff. Principally, Ms. Easter ensures alignment of more than 400 Flag Officers and Senior Executives, providing indispensable advice and support to the Chief of Naval Operations and the Secretary of the Navy. Mrs. Easter was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in December 2002 and has over 30 years of Federal Service.

Manley Pope
Manley Pope is an award-winning performer, director, writer, producer, and lecturer who began his career traveling the world as a model for fashion’s top designers. He is best known for his breakout role as Devon Whitelaw on the hit FOX television series Sweet Valley High and on Broadway, starring as Roger Davis in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning musical RENT. He is currently Guest Starring on CBS’s Blue Bloods, as the slick and charming bouncer King and CSI Miami fans will recognize him as Rick “V-Ray” Graves, leader of the notorious Crypt Kings biker gang. Manley is a native of Wilmington.