April 3-7, 2024



Beautiful Views & The Best Burgers In Town

The Rhododendron Festival celebrates the beautiful Rhododendrons that grow on Roan Mountain, host to the largest population of Rhododendrons in the world. The Rhododendrons on Roan are not allowed to be picked EXCEPT to make the bouquets for the winners of the Rhododendron Festival. The festival itself is a two-day event beginning on Friday night with the start of the pageant preliminary and followed by street dancing. There is a 10K on Saturday morning which as a cross country runner, would have been fun; but instead I had the incredible opportunity to travel up to the top of Roan Mountain and see the Rhododendrons with the other visiting queens.


 After the trip up to the top of Roan, I took on the street fair where all the booths sold handmade items from soaps to jewelry. Then I had lunch at Helen’s, which has the best burgers (seriously if you are ever in Bakersville go check it out).


Saturday night was the final night of the pageant where two Rhododendron queens said farewell, and two new ones said hello. I have no doubt they will love every second of representing their festival as I do mine.

The second night of street dancing took place after the pageant, and I can now say that after two nights of intense practice, I can street dance. I learned line dances such as “Cotton Eye Joe,” “Watermelon Crawl,” and even the “Biker Shuffle.” I even got to participate in square dancing, but have no means mastered it, so I guess that just means I will have to go back next year! I would like to extend a huge thank you to the people of Bakersville and the Rhododendron Festival Committee for inviting me and being so hospitable just as they have done for all the other Azalea Festival Princesses.


Lilly Kays
2016 Azalea Festival Princess

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