Concerts in 1970 were the big news: Country star George Hamilton IV, Yackety Sax instrumentalist Boots Randolph, the Dells and former Miss America Vonda Kay Van Dyke all preformed.
The excitement was focused around the military in 1971. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute into the festival and the U.S. Navy had made appearances with both a submarine and a destroyer. TV’s Love, American Style, Phyllis Davis was queen. Unfortunately, 1971, was the last Azalea Open Invitational
Two popular TV shows were represented in 1972. Ann B. Davis, who plays Alice from The Brady Bunch and Demond Wilson, who plays Lamont of Sanford and Son were both on hand for meet and greet and autographs. Pat Boone along with his entire family, preformed and awed us with their talent.
While Jacqueline White, the first Azalea queen, returns as a special guest.
Joan Van Ark reined as queen even before her starring role in Dallas.
Cab Calloway, an American jazz singer, dancer, and bandleader entrained the crowds. Also, a ventriloquist Willie Tyler (and Lester) was also on hand for entertainment.
It was an exciting time for N.C. State University as they had just won NCAA national championship. Therefore when the Wolfpack basketball team showed up their excitement was contagious. Sharon Gless was is queen and Patti Page, who scored a hit with her rendition of The Tennessee Waltz, was the musical headliner.
Stephanie Braxton of All My Children leads a long line of Azalea queens from the world of daytime drama.
Ted Lange (“Isaac” from The Love Boat) is a celebrity guest. Richard and Patti Roberts with their World Action Singers revive a ’50s festival tradition of evangelists and religious artists. Rita McLaughlin of As the World Turns is queen.
Lawrence Welk’s “Champagne Lady,” Norma Zimmer, is a musical guest, along with comedian John Byner and Charlotte Stewart (“Eva Beadle” from Little House on the Prairie). Azalea Queen Francesca James from All My Children has such a good time, she comes back for next year’s festival on her own.
Nancy Addison of Ryan’s Hope left Irish eyes a-smilin’ as Azalea queen.
The music ranges from Debby Boone (You Light Up My Life) to Pure Prairie League.